Author Archives: Mangrove Action Project

The MAP News, 141st Ed., 7 July 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 141st Edition of the Mangrove Action Project News, formerly called the Late Friday News. We have changed the name of our newsletter to better reflect the nature of our newsletter which is posted on MAP’s website and sent out via internet to over 2500 e-mail contacts around the globe. We again ask for your succinct and relevant news stories from your own regions for inclusion in the MAP News!

This newsletter is brought to you for free, but PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Contact: mangroveap@olympus.net

Also, Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP! Please consider helping MAP meet those demands for our presence at certain conferences and workshops whereby our greatest cost to attend important events is airfare, which often holds us back from

attending important fora where MAP’s presence should be felt.

Please donate your frequent flyer miles to MAP so we can be in the

right place at the right time to present MAP’s needed voice at such fora where too often the grassroots voice for the local communities

and for the mangroves is not heard.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,

Mangrove Action Project

mangroveap@olympus.net.

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 141st Edition, 7 July 2004
FEATURE STORY
Freedom for the Mangroves Day!–The 26th of July, A Global Call For Action:

MAP WORKS
Emergency Appeal to Rebuild A Center

Bamboo Furniture Making Workshop Success

New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration training workshop

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

Volunteer Work-Study Tour In the Mangroves

AFRICA
Africa-the new frontier for the GE industry

Nigeria
Victory Over Forest Despoilers

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand

ANOTHER ACTIVIST’S MURDER (For shrimp farms)

Exposing society’s master criminal

Burma

Conservation programs seek to preserve vital mangrove

West Papua

The Tangguh gas project: what hope for human rights

S. ASIA
India

Plans for Ship Canal Between India and Stri Lanka Grave Concern

Bangladesh

Viral epidemic hits Bagerhat shrimp hatcheries

Govt to reform Sundarbans Bio-diversity Project

International Workshop on Collective Strategies for the Conservation of Livelihood Sustenance in the Sundarbans

22pc of cultivable land in coastal areas salinity affected

Conservation of Forest Biodiversity, Traditional Knowledge,

Man-eater on the prowl

LATIN AMERICA
Honduras

March For Life Proceeds From Coast To Capitol In Honduras

NORTH AMERICA
USA

Global shrimp market in turmoil

U.S. Proposes Tariffs on Shrimp Imports

STORIES/ISSUES
Sea protection costs less than fish subsidies, says study

FISH SAID TO BE SMARTER THAN GENERALLY REALIZED

Bamboo: money that grows as you watch

Honey Production From Mangroves Can Supplement Local Incomes

JULY 22 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST OLD WORLD BANK ORDER!

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Wild salmon prices have been hurt

Proposed fish farm creates controversy

FEATURE STORY
“Freedom for the Mangroves Day!”–The 26th of July, A Global Call For Action:

PLEASE Join Us Wherever You Are For The 26th of July

We are now collecting news about other planned events for the global call for action to “Free the Mangroves!” on July 26th. Please write us to share your own plans for this international day for the mangroves!

A CALL FOR GLOBAL ACTION ON JULY 26th, THE DAY OF THE MANGROVES!: MAP wishes to lend our full support to the plans and actions presented here by FUNDECOL in their recent call for Global Action on July 26th, 2004. We ask that you and/ or your organizations please join us all in a global protest against the ongoing incarceration of the mangrove forest ecosystems and the local communities that depend upon the mangroves for their lives and livelihoods. Please send us your regional or local plans for actions that are meant to commemorate this international Day for the Mangroves! We would like to again share your plans and ideas with our international network. We look forward to hearing from you soon in this regards! (The Editor)

=======

Campaign 26th of July,

Day of the Defense of the Mangroves

“FREEDOM FOR THE MANGROVES”

Kidnapped mangroves by shrimp farms

Partners,

We are about to celebrate once more the 26th of July, Day of the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem. As last year, we wish that this day will be commemorated in the international, regional and national levels.

* “Freedom for the Mangroves”

Freedom for the mangroves is a symbolic name that urges to “liberate” the mangroves that are illegally destroyed and suffocated by the dams of the shrimp ponds that forbid the natural exchange of brackish and fresh waters.

Freedom for the mangroves jailed by industrial shrimp infrastructure that bans their normal development and exchange of energy, and finally

Freedom for the areas that have been destroyed and need to be reestablished to their original ecosystem.

Under the slogan “Freedom for the Mangroves”, this year 2004′s campaign that commemorates the 26th of July, is committed to strengthen the local organizational processes and to generate favorable public opinion for the defense and community management of the mangroves. It is also dedicated to the development of alliances with organizations and institutions in the regional and international level to accomplish the mission of recovery, protection and conservation of this very valuable natural resource, especially through the reversion of the illegal and abandoned shrimp ponds to their original mangrove ecosystem.

Actions that will take place

In Ecuador the following activities will take place during the campaign “Freedom for the Mangroves”:

On the 26th of July, a national event will take place in the city of Bahia de Caraquez. A massive demonstration of the traditional users of the mangrove ecosystem of the entire Ecuadorian coast will happen in support to this province, which is the most devastated region of the country because of the effects of the indiscriminate destruction of the mangroves due to the construction of infrastructure for the industrial shrimp aquaculture and other industrial activities such as industrial tourism.

The big celebration during the Day of the Mangroves will gather ancestral users of the mangroves of the entire Ecuadorian coast in Bahia de Caraquez as well as the local and national mass media. During this day, the following activities will take place:

* A national festival for the mangroves with:

o A mangrove forum

o Artistic and cultural presentations from each province

o Stands from the different organizations

o Promotion of the community management of the mangroves

* Reforestation of mangroves in an abandoned shrimp pond located near Bahia de Caraquez. This will count with the community participation of the traditional users of the mangrove ecosystem from the entire Ecuadorian coast and the attendance of the local, regional and national mass media.

During this happening the slogan of this year’s campaign “Freedom for the mangroves” will guide strictly the activities by giving back the life to an incarcerated mangrove forest jailed by the disordered industrial shrimp aquaculture.

In the previous days, in each of the provinces will take place community celebrations that will involve: cultural, artistic and sport activities, local festivals and forums around the mangroves. Moreover, with the community participation and the support of students from schools and universities massive reforestations of mangroves will occur.

At the same time, during the 25th and 30th of July, we will attend the Social Forum of the Americas that will take place in the city of Quito, and we will insert the issue of the mangroves during this event.

We invite you to incorporate to this year’s festival of the 26th of July by proposing activities and actions in the different counties for the “Freeedom of the Mangroves”.

Yours truly,

Lider Gongora F.

President C-Condem

costamanglar@hotmail.com

Executive Secretary Redmanglar

redmanglar@redmanglar.org

======

NIGERIA JOINS CALL TO ACTION ON JULY 26TH!

CHEDRES WOULD LIKE TO MARK THE OCCASION ON JULKY 26TH THROUGH a COURSTESY CALL TO MBO L.GA. CHAIRMAN IN AKWA IBOM ON THE NEED TO SENSITISE HIS PEOPLE TO PROTECT THE MANGROVE

ECOSYSTEM. MBO L.G.A IS ONE OF THE SIX OIL-RICH LOCAL GOVERMENT AREAS OF AKWA IBOM, AND IS VERY RICH WITH

MANGROVES. WE WILL ORGANAZIE AN ENVIRONMENT HEALTH SEMINAR AND A MANGROVE ECOSYSTEM TOUR BY SPEED BOAT

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH ISSUES WILL BE COMBINED WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELFARE ISSUES. COMMUNITY DEWORMING SERVICES WILL BE RENDERED TO SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN IN THIS WETLAND L.G.A IN CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH THE HEALTH UNIT OF

THE L.G.A.

Felix Ukam Ngwu -Project Director

Centre for Health works, Development

and Research (CHEDRES)

Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria

chedres@yahoo.co.uk

———-

July 26th Action Planned in Recife, Brazil

We have been working in the school in Recife, Brazil. I have been planning with teachers to do a big project to collect trash in the mangrove reserve in Itamaraca, PE. I am a reseacher, having worked in this reserve about one year. We now have had some problems because the business proprietor there has built a barrier because he doesn’t want the fishermen’s boats near his propriety. So, now the river water has some difficulty to enter the mangrove.

This area was a shirmp farm in the past, and a natural regrowth of plants was before possible there, but with this new barrier it will not grow like before. We want to do a protest because we want this landowner to demolish the barrier.

Thank you for keeping information about mangrove action in the world,

Sincerily,

Lourinalda Silva

From: “Lourinalda Silva” silvalourinalda@hotmail.com

MAP WORKS
Emergency Appeal to Rebuild A Center

Twister stikes the Coastal Community Resource Center at Kuala Indah, North Sumatera – None Injured.

As many readers of the Mangrove Action News may know, MAP, in partnership with the Sumateran NGO’s JALA and P3MN have worked together to carry out two of MAP’s keystone programs in 2004. These programs, the creation of a Coastal Community Resource Center and the hosting of the 10th In the Hands of the Fisherfolks’ Workshop were completed at the end of May 2004.

The illustrated report is currently in the layout stage, and we are sure that readers of the report will agree that the programs were successful in many ways. Indeed the evaluations of both activities by participants show that they highly regarded both programs.

But before you have a chance to see the pictures, and read the proceedings, we have some sad news to report related to the Coastal Community Resource Center.

This center was built in the village of Kuala Indah in order to host the IHOF workshop, and more permanently to be used by the local community for weekly fisherfolk meetings, education and economic programs.

The building was built using local materials, coconut wood, and a Nypah palm thatch roof, in a traditional style raised up on cement and stone piers. The building site was donated by a local landowner and fisherfolk leader, and was situated at the edge of the village, which was once a mangrove forest. The mangrove forest was disturbed a decade back due to the development of shrimp ponds adjacent to the village by a foreign owner. Thus, this selected site is situated next to an artificial set of dike walls and a deep channel which have robbed the mangrove forest of natural tidal influx over the years. Nonetheless high tides do inundate our building site, hence building on top of the cement piers.

At the IHOF workshop, we began to discuss the concept of restoring some of the original hydrology to the area near the CCRC, with the goal of rehabilitating some of the disturbed mangrove.

But these plans will have to wait. A few weeks ago, North Sumatra experienced 4 days of high winds and storms. The storms were so severe that they kept the villagers of Kuala Indah up through the entire night for all four nights. On the fourth night disaster struck. A twister (perhaps a water spout) was sited along the coast and headed directly for the CCRC. With only the shrimp ponds between the ocean and the Center, there was nothing in the way to deflect the high winds. The roof and posts of the CCRC, attached to the floor and pilings with traditional large wood pins did not withstand the winds, and were uprooted and landed on a neighboring house.

Fortunately no on was injured. The house next door was ruined. Fault is being placed on both the unusually strong winds/water spout and the lack of experience of the architect in fastening the building more securely. At the time, the use of traditional architecture was very much supported by the villagers, the traditional leader even cried during the dedication of the building which brought back memories of the buildings of his youth. But all in all no one is holding the NGO’s or architect directly responsible. The community was aware of the plans to build the CCRC and it was the community who chose the building location and style, and supplied the laborers.

The complex’s foundation/piers, floor, fuel-efficient palm sugar cook-stove, and public restrooms are still perfectly in tact. The community does want to see the CCRC rebuilt. They are excited about the future programs that will be held at the CCRC and the benefit the CCRC is already providing for the community.

But, first things first. The house that was next door to the CCRC needs to be rebuilt. It was a rudimentary house, and the cost involved is not that high. The local community has already donated a substantial amount of labor and materials to fix the house.

Estimates of the total costs of fixing the house and the CCRC are being prepared this week. In the next MAP news we will print these estimates. We feel that $1000 for each building, or about $2000 total will be sufficient to fix the house and redesign and build the CCRC, employing an engineer to recalculate stress/load etc. We will use steel bolts and braces for the new CCRC, and a lower roof design, and also attempt to plant some fast growing bamboo species and other trees on the dike walls opposite the CCRC as a wind break.

We are asking our readership for donations to rebuild the village house and the CCRC. $20 here and there, and some large donations should cover it.

From the U.S. these checks can be mailed to:

Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director

Mangrove Action Project

PO Box 1854

Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279
USA

phone/ fax (360) 452-5866

mangroveap@olympus.net

———-

Bamboo Furniture Making Workshop Success

There is good indication that the bamboo furniture workshop that MAP co-sponsored last year at Tiwoho’s Coastal Communities Resource Center will have long lasting impacts. Only 5 months later, the bamboo furniture makers ordered 30 kilograms of rattan string from the bamboo trainers here in Java. The rattan is harvested in Kalimantan, and the product that IKEA and Pier One don’t take gets shipped to Java for processing into rattan string. The group uses the rattan string to cover up unsightly bamboo joints.

This is the 3rd order the recently formed village cooperative group have placed by themselves, and the orders are consistently 20 kg which makes about 100 pieces of furniture. They are paying for themselves, not subsidized by grants etc. This is of course an indication that purchasing orders continue to be placed and the group is saving enough money to buy raw materials (bamboo and rattan string) to keep producing. We hope to find a better way for the group to purchase the rattan string. You can’t make high quality string yourself, as this needs factory machining, the material available locally in Sulawesi is not good enough and that affects the quality and price of the furniture. This is why the group is opting to buy from Java for the time being. Although it is more expensive, the selling price of the furniture is substantially higher.

We hear there is a grassroots rattan network in Samarinda, Kalimantan making high quality string and furniture themselves without selling their raw materials to IKEA, and we want to try and connect this group to our furntirue makers to buy direct. By coincidence several Tiwoho villagers are currently living and working in Samarinda and can make regular shipments back to Sulawesi, but we are having trouble contacting the grassroots rattan workers network.

In related news we have 375 bamboo seedlings on the way to Sulawesi for our arrival next week, and wil begin a reforestation program with the vilalgers of Tiwoho.

From: “Benjamin Brown”

———-

New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at:Mangrove Restoration

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

———-

ANNOUNCEMENT: Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at

and www.mangroverestoration.com.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

=====

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com

Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

———-

Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!

Please consider helping MAP meet those demands for our presence at certain conferences and workshops whereby our greatest cost to attend important events is airfare, which often holds us back from attending important fora where MAP’s presence should be felt.

Please donate your frequent flyer miles to MAP so we can be in the right place at the right time to present MAP’s needed voice at such fora where too often the grassroots voice for the local communities and for the mangroves is not heard.

If you wish to donate your frequent flyer miles, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net.

Your help in this important matter will be much appreciated!

———-

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project

and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on

2. Grounds for change website

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

———-

Volunteer Work-Study Tour In the Mangroves

MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Oct. 1-10, 2004

A mangrove-restoration and sea turtle conservation project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being planned for Oct. 1-10, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles, as well as explore the unique cenote and extensive reef ecosystems of the region, as well as visit the nearby Mayan ruins and beautiful beaches. Please join MAP and local volunteers from the surrounding communities in undertaking important beach cleanup and restoration work in paradise setting now threatened by short-sighted development. And, please join us at a three day workshop that deals with important and timely ecological and social justice issues.

MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE, in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

AFRICA
Africa-the new frontier for the GE industry

The Genetic Engineering (GE) industry is facing a shrinking global market as more and more countries adopt biosafety laws and GE labeling regulations. Moreover, as a result of widespread and mounting consumer rejection and the difficulties experienced by Monsanto in obtaining regulatory approval of its GE wheat, it has decided to pull out of the European cereal market.

Africa and Asia are the new frontiers for exploitation by the agro-chemical, seed and GE corporations. The potential for US agri-business to profit from hunger in Africa through, ostensibly the provision of food aid, technical assistance, capital investment, agricultural research and the funding of biosafety initiatives are enormous.

The United State’s Agency for International Development (USAID) is at the forefront of a US marketing campaign to introduce GE food into the developing world. It has made it clear that it sees its role as having to “integrate biotechnology into local food systems and spread the technology through regions in Africa.” <#_edn1>[1]Through USAID, in collaboration with the GE industry and several groups involved in GE research in the developed world, the US government is funding various initiatives aimed at biosafety regulation and decision-making in Africa, which if successful, will put in place weak biosafety regulation and oversight procedures.

These biosafety initiatives are designed to harmonise Africa’s biosafety laws with those of South Africa’s. South Africa’s Genetically Modified Organisms Act is a poor example of biosafety regulation.<#_edn2>[2] It is in effect, merely a permitting system designed to expedite GM imports into the country and releases into the environment. It specifically mandates that biosafety risk assessment involve no more than a paper audit, which entails a review of the ‘safety’ information generated by the corporations during product development.

USAID is also investing heavily in funding various GE research projects in a bid to take control of African agricultural research.<#_edn3>[3]

Biosafety under threat

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety finally came into force, after years of negotiation, on the 11 September 2003. This international binding environmental agreement is specifically designed to protect human health, the environment and biodiversity from the risks posed by GMOs. It was countries from the South, and the African group in particular, that consistently championed biosafety and won the right for importing countries to ban or severely restrict imports of GMOs in the face of scientific uncertainty, based on the precautionary principle, as sanctioned by the Protocol.

To date, 65 countries have ratified the Protocol, with many more ratifications expected before the first Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol takes place February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia<#_edn4>[4]. Only 18 countries in Africa have so far ratified the Protocol<#_edn5>[5] but many more could be persuaded to do so, in order for them to qualify for one or other of the numerous biosafety capacity building initiatives taking place on the continent.

The hard earned victories won under the Biosafety Protocol are under serious threat from these GE ‘biosafety’ initiatives. These initiatives are designed to thwart the development of sound biosafety policies and laws. There is an ever present danger that African countries will be overwhelmed by the volley of technical experts they are peppered with by USAID and biotech industry money and expertise, that they will succumb, despite their valid concerns, to these formidable forces.

The fad is the drafting of national biosafety frameworks. The implementation of the Biosafety Protocol has been seized upon and exploited by proponents of GE, as an opportunity to promote and weak and ineffective legal regimes and redirect capacity building in biotechnology rather than biosafety in an attempt to garner much needed support for this dangerous technology.

Influential proponents of GE especially from South Africa have become more sophisticated and better resourced in their promotion of GE in Africa, often citing the following as impediments to the acceptance of GE ‘rapid introduction of genetically modified crops, in spite of their potential positive impact on agricultural production and food security. Constraints include a lack of capacity to evaluate risk and make decisions; lack of funding and political will to implement appropriate regulatory processes, concern over the role of multinational companies and the loss of control by Africans over their own resources.”<#_edn6>[6]

From: “ECOTERRA Intl.”

———-

Nigeria

Victory Over Forest Despoilers

Greetings from ABGREMO to you all.
I hope for those of us in Calabar today, we have heard
on the New that Governor Don Duke has bound the
Foriegn Wood Company(the Almighty WEMPCO) from
operating in the state. with this it has given us hope
that the last remaing paart of the Unique rainforest
of Cross River State is a little bit at rest.
Lets Join hands with the Governor to ensure that the
This gaint does not return back to the forest of Cross
River state, Nigeria. Also let see how other smaller
companies can be bound too.
I think this credits also goes to all of us who has in one way or the other campaign for the protection of
this unique Forest in view of it Significant to the World Forest.

Lets also keep on advocating for similar protection
for the Cross River state Mangrove forest.
Yours in forest protection

Edem Okon Edem
Programme Coordinator
ABGREMO, Nigeria
From: Ekpenyong Effiong

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand

Bangkok Post June 23, 2004

.ANOTHER ACTIVIST’S MURDER (For shrimp farms)

Govt pressured to supervise probe

Cannot trust local police, villagers say

Post reporters

Villagers and human rights activists say they cannot trust local police to investigate the murder of Charoen Wat-aksorn, an opponent of the Bo Nok power plant project, who was slain on Monday night.

They urged the government to let the Justice Ministry or the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) handle the case.

His wife, Korn-uma Pongnoi, demanded that the government bring the murderer to justice within 100 days or she and local people would cremate Mr Charoen’s body in front of Government House.

“Before my husband was killed two days ago, he told me that if he died, to take his body to Government House,” she said.

Mr Charoen, who led the Love Bo Nok Group in campaigning against construction of two coal-fired power plants, was shot dead on his way home after testifying before the Senate committee on social development and human security and the House committee on counter- corruption on the alleged malfeasance of local land officials.

He had accused the officials of trying to issue title deeds covering 53 rai of public land in tambon Bo Nok of Muang district to Phuan Wanwongsa, allegedly a local “influential person”.

He also accused many more government officials and influential figures of encroaching on public land.

Mr Charoen’s relatives and villagers yesterday took his body to the Justice Ministry to demand a speedy and fair investigation from the Special Investigation Department (SID)….

========

Bangkok Post July 3, 2004

CHAROEN MURDER

‘Key evidence’ found at bank

Police say suspects admitted to shooting

Chaiwat Sadyaem

Police say they have obtained key evidence which will shed light on the murder of environmental activist Charoen Wat-aksorn, while a search continues on encroached land and the houses of 11 encroachers to find more evidence linked to the killing.

A source said police from the Central Investigation Bureau had found 100,000 baht had been withdrawn from Krung Thai Bank’s Kui Buri branch by a local politician on June 21, the day when Mr Charoen was gunned down. Mr Charoen led protests against two power plant projects in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Before he was murdered. He was also leading protests against the issuing of a title deed for a 53-rai plot of public land at tambon Bor Nok in Muang district to Phuan Wanwongsa, who planned to sell it to a businessman. He also protested against encroachment on another 931 rai of land by prawn and crab farmers in the same area.

The activist was killed hours after he and another local leader had spoken to a senate committee about the land disputes.

Police from the Forestry Police Division and the CIB inspected encroached land covering 931 rai in the area and found that it was illegally occupied by 11 people, including former local leaders and local politicians, who had turned the land into prawn and crab farms.

They included Jua Hinkaew, former kamnan of tambon Bo Nok, Pradit Sa-nguanla-ied and Manot Hinkaew, respectively a Prachuap Khiri Khan provincial councillor and son of Mr Jua.

The police and land officials also surveyed 180 rai of land of Mr Sompong, and raided an encroacher’s house.

Mr Sompong denied encroaching on pubic land and said he had bought it for nine million baht and was in the process of appealing to the court for a land ownership document for his plot.

The lower court ruled that a land ownership paper could not be issued for the plot as it was part of public land. He said he bought the land legally and deserved the land ownership paper.

Pol Maj-Gen Sawek Pinsinchai, the forestry police chief, said a survey would be conducted on all plots to find out which ones were on public land.

Pol Lt-Gen Pichit Khuandechakupt, the assistant national police chief, said the two suspects _ Saneh Lekluan, and Prachuap Hinkaew, a nephew of Mr Jua _ had confessed to the killing.

Investigators had seized pistols thrown away after Mr Charoen was shot.

Today about 500 non-governmental organisations, environmentalists, academics, and labour unionists will turn up at Sanam Luang to mark the activist’s death.

======

COMMENTARY

Exposing society’s master criminal

Sanitsuda Ekachai

A suspect has been arrested in the murder of grassroots activist Charoen Wat-aksorn. But the mother of all public land grabbers is still at large: the government.

Normally we think of public land grabbers as private speculators who use their money and political influence to seize common land through corrupt deals with land officials. Though this is a widespread phenomenon, it is peanuts compared to what the authorities are doing _ using the law to legitimise the state theft of local communities’ common land on a massive scale.

An example is the century-old law which shifts the ownership and management of forests from local people to the Forestry Department. This draconian law declares that any land not covered by title deeds belongs to the Forestry Department. Consequently, countless rightful land owners _ many of them aborigines _ have been made encroachers subject to eviction and imprisonment.

The rich, meanwhile, buy their way with impunity into scenic forests and seaside areas which were common land.

The government also allows state agencies such as the military and Treasury Department to own massive plots of land which remain largely idle amid the severe problem of landlessness.

Mining laws allow investors to destroy the environment while damaging people’s health and the sources of their livelihood. Mines and quarries are usually located in remote areas where lawlessness rules. Many who have dared protest _ like Charoen _ have been gunned down, and their killers remain free.

Another legal way for the government to steal people’s common land is its policy of building mega-dams and power plants to serve the big cities’ insatiable thirst for energy despite the environmental devastation on the ground.

The state’s ruthless plunder of common land has given rise to nationwide grassroots movements, one of which was led by Charoen. To avoid nationwide civil unrest, the 1997 constitution endorses communities’ right to co-manage their natural resources, be they land, forests, rivers, minerals or the sea.

Sadly, this constitutional right is in letter only. The community forest bill _ the first-ever piece of legislation sponsored by the people _ was crippled.

The Thaksin administration refuses to issue organic laws which put community rights into action. It also uses its total control over the state media to demonise civic groups and grassroots movements, and to block the people’s voice from reaching a wider public. In addition, the government showers local communities with taxpayers’ money while promising villagers endless policy goodies in exchange for their political allegiance.

And worse is to come.

To start with, local fishermen might not be able to fish freely in coastal waters for much longer. The government plans to privatise coastal waters, dividing them into plots for private investment.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra also recently floated the idea of turning all common land into state property _ a challenge to the constitution, which demands local consent for all policies that affect communities. Since The Leader’s word is sacred command, villagers might be in for a big shock.

The government insists that turning common land into state property will better protect the land from encroachment. This is a farce. The reality on the ground consistently shows that if it is not corrupt officials who help investors steal common land, it is almost always government mega-projects the villagers are fighting.

So if Mr Thaksin’s idea is realised, it will legalise the massive theft of local communities’ natural resources.

If Charoen were still alive, he would fight fiercely against this plan to steal common land. And that is what we all should do if, like Charoen, we know who the real criminal is robbing the people.

- Sanitsuda Ekachai is Assistant Editor, Bangkok Post. sanitsudae@bangkokpost.co.th

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Burma

Myanmar Times, Jume, 2004

Conservation programs seek to preserve vital mangrove forests

By Kerry Howley and Khin Hninn Phyu

Villagers entering a mangrove forest in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta. Several organisations are working with communities in the delta to conserve mangrove forests.

ORGANISATIONS involved in projects to preserve Myanmar’s rapidly diminishing mangrove forests have highlighted the vital role they play in coastal and marine ecosystems.

“Three-fourths of the world’s tropical marine catch depends on mangrove forests for food or habitat during some stage of life,” said U Ohn, the general secretary of the Forest Resource Development and Conservation Association, a non-government organisation founded by former employees of the Forest Department.

FREDA and other organisations involved in conservation efforts say the rate at which mangrove forests are disappearing is having a serious effect on coastal habitats.

U Ohn said the depletion of mangroves has affected fishermen and others who rely on the forests to make a living.

He said marine species such as catfish and crabs that feed off a food chain dependent on mangrove habitats have disappeared from areas where the forests have been destroyed.

The removal of mangroves also affects other species.

“Vital habitats have been permanently lost for fish, molluscs, and crustaceans, as well as numerous birds, migratory species and endangered,” U Ohn said in a report titled The Blue Revolution and Ecological Disaster, published by FREDA in 2003.

The loss of mangroves also leaves coastal areas more vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters.

Mr Alfredo Quarto, the executive director of the US-based Mangrove Action Project, says the forests help to protect coastal areas from storm damage.

“The effects of storms are more deleterious for the coastal regions when the mangrove buffer zone in damaged or removed. The effects include storm damage to inland crops and property, coastal erosion and sedimentation offshore,” he said in an email message.

While the destruction of mangrove habits is a global issue, it is most evident in Southeast Asia, said Mr Shiro Arai, an environmental consultant for the Japanese government’s overseas aid agency, JICA.

“In surrounding countries this kind of delta-area natural mangrove vegetation has almost disappeared except in project implementation areas,” Mr Arai said.

He said the greatest threat to mangroves throughout the world is a type of shrimp farming that prevents tidal fluctuations from reaching the shore, thereby preventing the trees from obtaining nourishment.

“This kind of extractive activity won’t last long,” he said.

“Sooner or later people and nature will suffer.”

A British-based NGO, the Environmental Justice Foundation, says in a report titled Farming the Sea, Costing the Earth, that the US$50 billion shrimp farming industry is responsible for the destruction of 38 per cent of the world’s mangroves.

The report says most aquaculture takes place in developing countries with the support of international aid organisations and governments.

U Ohn says coastal land used for aquaculture is often abandoned after a few years, but mangrove forests cannot recover from shrimp farming as they can from paddy cultivation.

“When the fisheries abandon that area, we cannot reforest. That is the danger,” he said.

The Forest Department responded to the problem of mangrove depletion in 1995 by launching the Community Forest Initiative, a program that grants land use rights to individuals for a 30 year period on condition that they reforest the land with mangroves while using the land for agricultural purposes.

U Ohn says that 14 villages in Ayeyarwaddy Division’s Bogalay township are participating in the program. FREDA has distributed 600 hectares of land for reforesting and U Ohn says villagers affected by coastal erosion have requested help from the program.

A team of 12 FREDA staff provide support with technical expertise, mangrove seedlings and supervision.

With funding from the Japanese non-government organisation, ACTMANG, U Ohn says he hopes to extend the program to three more villages in July.

“We have to take the mission to villages and let them speak up and listen and decide what we can do,” he said.

JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has spent the past four years preparing a detailed study on enlisting community cooperation to preserve mangrove forests in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta.

The study, which covers the five townships, forms part of a comprehensive 20-year plan to reforest a 200,000 hectare area.

“We are looking for a meeting point between the government and the people’s needs,” said Mr Arai.

JICA, which has also initiated mangrove reforestation projects in Indonesia, Oman, and Bangladesh, is launching its second pilot program to generate feedback regarding the plan’s methods.

Mr Tajima Makato, JICA’s country representative in Myanmar, says the 20-year master plan is meant to be adopted by delta communities for the long term.

“We have to institutionalise the system,” he said.

“Maybe you can do one project here and there, you can make a short term successful one time case, but if it’s not put in the system it won’t last long.”

From: “Kerry Howley”

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Note: In 1991, of the 4.2 million hectares of mangrove forests left in Indonesia, 2.9 million hectares were located in West Papua.

West Papua

An Excerpt From “Down to Earth” No. 60, February 2004

The Tangguh gas project: what hope for human rights protection in a worsening political climate?

With the political context worsening and militarisation in West Papua increasing, BP’s commitments to human rights and its ‘community-based security policy’- look more and more flimsy.

In 2003, West Papua continued to suffer the impacts of Indonesian military repression. The resumption of all-out war in Aceh and the threat of follow-up action in West Papua, confirmed the re-emergence of the military (TNI) as a dominant force in national politics and its practice of silencing pro-independence voices by force. During the year there was mounting concern over the build-up of TNI-backed militias in West Papua, the sustained targeting of human rights defenders and brutal military “sweepings” in highland villages…..

…The TNI is widely believed to be actively fomenting violence in West Papua and perpetuating the bloodshed in Aceh in order to maintain and increase their control over security policy in Jakarta. Violent incidents, blamed on ‘separatists’ who threaten the republic’s ‘territorial integrity’ are instigated in order to lead Indonesian public opinion towards the need for a strong political role for the military as a bulwark against national disintegration. Attempts to ‘break up’ Indonesia are being blamed on outsiders: in January this year army chief of staff Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu warned that Indonesia may lose Papua and Aceh due to a foreign conspiracy, and that ‘separatism’ could claim the lives of up to 30 million people.

Since the decision to give up the military’s direct involvement in national, provincial and district parliaments – after the April 2004 parliamentary elections – the motivation to use conflicts in Aceh and West Papua as leverage has become stronger. They can act in these territories with near impunity. Although seven Kopassus officers received light prison sentences for killing pro-independence PDP leader Theys Eluay in 2001, many other crimes have not even been investigated. In January 2004 the national human rights commission, Komnas HAM said that it would be taking up just two of seven major human rights incidents proposed for investigation in West Papua.

A second, strong motivation for the TNI to maintain its heavy presence, is access to Papua’s rich natural resources and opportunities to reap financial rewards from logging, mining, fisheries and protection businesses (see DTE 57 for more on this).

Not surprisingly, the militarisation of West Papua has continued, with troop numbers increasing to around ten thousand in 2003, up from an estimated 4,350 troops in 2002(2). Police numbers are also going up – early in 2004 it was announced that an extra 3,000 police would be sent to West Papua to safeguard the April elections. NGOs fear a harder line approach from the police too, now that Col.Timbul Silaen has been appointed police chief for Papua. Silaen was in charge of police operations in East Timor during the run-up to the August 1999 referendum, when military-backed pro-integration militias were permitted to terrorise the population. He has been indicted on crimes against humanity charges by East Timor’s Serious Crimes Unit.

An increase of 2,000 troops announced in August 2003 was in response to protests against the splitting of West Papua into 3 provinces, specifically against the creation of ‘Central Irian Jaya’ which was declared in Timika on August 23rd 2003. During clashes between supporters of the new province and opponents, five people were killed and at least 50 were injured. As a result, Jakarta postponed the decision, but did not cancel it. The 3-way split into West, Central and East Irian Jaya is a long term project of the military designed to undermine the pro-independence movement and offers the potential for yet more militarisation. This policy, which the security forces have promoted since the 1980s and which President Habibie sought to revive in 1999, contradicts the softer approach to dealing with pro-independence Papuans represented by Special Autonomy measures. These were supposed to be introduced from January 2002, but have not materialised, due to obstruction from Jakarta.

Despite some concern expressed by foreign governments, Indonesia’s brutal treatment of Papuans who wish to exercise their long-denied right to self-determination, has not changed one bit. The British government, like most other foreign governments which backed special autonomy as the only solution in Aceh and West Papua, has failed to express any public disappointment about Indonesia’s failure to implement it. Instead it has focused on its own overriding foreign policy objective: trade and investment. Ignoring warnings from NGOs, Britain approved a massive increase in the sale of arms to Indonesia – from GBP 2 million in 2000 to GBP 41 million in 2002. In West Papua, the British government is supporting BP’s investment to the hilt: Ambassador Richard Gozney attended a meeting to discuss the company’s security policy. As outlined by TIAP (see box), the British aid agency, DfID, is involved with BP and other donors in joint projects in the Bird’s Head region of West Papua aimed at long term sustainable growth and local government capacity-building in the region – all of which support a stable investment environment for Tangguh.

While British companies benefit from this kind of trade and investment, Papuans continue to suffer from more militarisation, military operations, the environmental impacts of rampant resource exploitation and the health effects which go along with these, such as AIDS, which has become a very serious problem in the territory.

Against this background, the exploitation of West Papua’s natural resources has continued apace. The US/UK owned Freeport mine in the central mountains was removing rock-bearing ore at a rate of over 200,000 tonnes per day – until the October pit collapse in which six mineworkers were killed slowed production levels temporarily (see DTE 59). A further landslip – with no casualties – was reported in December.

The plunder of the forests is also continuing as more logging companies move eastward from the logged out forests of Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi. The Indonesian NGO Forest Watch Indonesia reckons that about 60,000 cubic meters of timber was smuggled out of Papua during August/September alone and that another 600,000 cubic meters were traded illegally over the previous year. According to FWI, foreign mafias have entered the country via cooperatives supported by Indonesian officials.

How does the Tangguh project fit in to this deteriorating political, human rights and environmental context?

Second TIAP visit

The second annual visit of the four-member Tangguh Independent Advisory Panel took place June 13-21 2003. The team is led by US Senator George Mitchell, and has three other members: Rev. Herman Saud from West Papua, Sabam Siagan, a former Indonesian Ambassador and Lord Hannay, a crossbench peer from Britain. TIAP has the task of investigating and reporting on the non-commercial aspects of Tangguh.

The independence of TIAP is questionable, since it was set up and is funded by BP and its visits are facilitated by the company. Also, Sabam Siagan sat on the board of the mining company Kaltim Prima Coal, the giant coal mining venture co-owned by BP and Rio Tinto which is currently being sold to Indonesian interests. DTE has raised this apparent conflict of interests with TIAP, but has yet to receive a response.

While the overall conclusion of the team is that, in general, Papuans have a positive attitude towards the project, their report raises some important questions about the project’s shortcomings and potential negative impacts.

The full TIAP report and BP’s response to it initially posted on BP’s website, had been removed at the time this newsletter was printed. The first TIAP report and BP’s response remain on the site www.bp.com/ For an analysis of this, see DTE 57

Prior informed consent

One fundamental problem with Tangguh is its failure to secure the free, prior, informed consent of local communities whose lands, resources and livelihoods are affected by the project. This is common to all major resource extraction projects in Indonesia, because of Indonesia’s systematic denial of indigenous peoples’ land and resource rights. The result is that the potential for resentment against the development and for resulting conflict is far higher than if informed consent of local people had been secured in advance.

According to John Rumbiak of the Papuan human rights group ELSHAM, the denial of prior informed consent is one of the reasons behind what he calls the “dynamics of destruction and violence” in West Papua. To put an end to this, he says, the international community – particularly international investors -

“must, first and foremost, recognise indigenous communities’ basic rights to chart their own development paths, to manage their own resources, to pursue their traditional livelihoods and cultures, and to say NO to multinational operations on their lands. The failure to respect communities’ basic right to “just say no” exists at the heart of the nexus of human rights violations, environmental degradation and conflict.”

(John Rumbiak, ELSHAM, Speech to Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights, 2003)….

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S. ASIA

India

Plans to Build Ship Canal Between India and Stri Lanka Cause Grave Concern

Greetings from East Coast Research and Development.

We are celebrating WED.We have chosen the UNEP theme WANTED ! SEAS AND OCEANS ; DEAD OR ALIVE ?.

As we are based in Thoothukudi,and concerned about protecting the Gulf of Mannar from industrial pollution,coral mining,shrimp farms,and coastal sand mining.Now that ,we are worried about the proposed destructive Sethu Samudram ship canal project .We are sure that it will destroy the ecosystem ,the National Marine of Park of India.In order to save GOM from this deadly project,as the Tuticorin Port is seeking Environmental Clearance from Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board by June 15th, We have already started our letter writing campaign around 10000 letters,street meetings,distributing pamphlets,Campaigning from kanyakumari to Rameswarem and public meetings.We have raised the awareness of the people about the issue threatening the ecosystem and the livlihood of the people.

Regards,

Pushparayan.

Project Director

Excerpt from Environmental Impact Assessment for Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project

Executive Summary

1.0 Introduction

India does not have, within her own territorial waters, a continuous navigable route around the peninsula due to the presence of a shallow (1.5 to 3.5 m depth) ridge called ‘Adam’s Bridge’ between Pamban island on south-eastern coast of India and Talaimannar of Sri Lanka. While Rameshwaram is a major pilgrim centre on Pamban island the tip of the island is marked by Dhanushkody. Consequently, the ships calling at ports on the east coast of India have to go around Sri Lanka entailing an additional distance of more than 400 nautical miles and 36 hours of ship time.

The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project under the consideration of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, envisages creation of a ship canal to suit different drafts (9.15 m, 10.7 m and 12.8m) through dredging/excavation in Adams Bridge and parts of Palk Bay. The navigation route will originate from the Tuticorin new harbour in the Gulf of Mannar (GOM) using available navigation depths(> 20 m) up to south east of Pamban Island, pass through a canal created in Adams Bridge within the international boundary and proceed parallel to the International Medial Line for fishing rights as the Bengal channel. In Palk Bay area availability of depths in middle channel, capital dredging across Adams Bridge and in Palk Strait and continuous maintenance dredging along the proposed transit are the critical project related issues.

The routes selected through earlier studies particularly in Gulf of Mannar area have been rejected, keeping in view sensitivity along the coastal stretch of GOM harbouring marine national park. Instead a navigation route keeping a minimum 6-8 km distance from Van Tiu near Tuticorin and about 20 km from shringle in Adams Bridge approach area has been suggested.

Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT), the nodal agency identified by Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India for the implementation of the project in pursuance of its decision to incorporate environmental considerations in the design phase of the project, retained, in March 2002, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment study for the project.

From: PUSHPARAYAN

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Bangladesh

Viral epidemic hits Bagerhat shrimp hatcheries

Farmers count Tk 100 crore in loss, 800 shrimp beds infected

The Daily Star

Shrimps and fry of about 800 hatcheries of Baroipara in Bagerhat have died due to virus infection and white spot disease, causing Tk 100 crore loss to over 6000 shrimp farmers.

Hatchery owners and workers of Baroipara village, known as ‘Mini Kuwait’ of Bangladesh, are incurring huge loss due to the epidemic-like diseases, local sources said.

Akbar Azad, president of Baroipara Shrimp Cultivators’ Welfare Association, said Bagerhat district alone has been the country’s second highest foreign exchange earner from shrimp exports since 1980.

However, the lucrative export industry of Bagerhat recently suffered a setback and is about to collapse because of the government’s indifferent attitude, he added.

He also urged the government to set up a laboratory in Bagerhat, where over 12000 acres of land is used for shrimp cultivation, to detect the nature of the disease in the hatcheries.

Local shrimp farmers also asked the authorities concerned to exempt them from bank loan interest as they lost their investment in the recent viral outbreak.

“We have been incurring huge financial loss every year since 1996 due to virus-related shrimp diseases,” said Sarder Mohiuddin, general secretary of the association.

MA Salam, vice president of Khulna unit of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association, said that the government would lose huge foreign exchange earnings from shrimp export this year due to an outbreak of white spot disease in Bagerhat.

From: zakir kibria

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Govt to reform Sundarbans Bio-diversity Project

The Daily Star

The government has decided to reform the Sundarbans Bio-diversity Conservation Projects (SBCP) as advised by the donors to develop a sustainable conservation system on the basis of environmental plan and the participation of all key stakeholders.

The reform in the SBCP will be made as per the lessons learnt from the process of implementation of the project over the last three years since 2000, said project director Dr Saiful Islam.

Environment and Forests Minister Tariqul Islam inaugurated the workshop on reformation of the SBCP at the IDB Bhaban in the city yesterday.

Tariqul underlined the importance of taking concerted regional and international efforts to protect the bio-diversity of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest (SRF).

“The Sundarbans is a pride of Bangladesh as being a world heritage in this part of the globe,” he said. But a vicious circle comprising population problem, climate change and diversion of water flows of the upstream rivers, has endangered the existence of the world’s largest mangrove, he added.

He said the SBCP was formulated very hurriedly in 2000 without any proper action plan to protect the interests of local people, arrange alternate livelihood for them and secure the integrity of the environment and bio-diversity of the SRF.

State Minister for Environment and Forests Jafrul Islam Chowdhury, Resident Representative of ADB in Bangladesh Taru Shibuchi, Secretary of the Environment and Forests Ministry Syed Tanveer Hussein, ADB consultant Dr Sanaul Mostafa, SBCP Director Dr Saiful Islam and Deputy Director Ali Kabir Haider took part in the discussion. Chief Conservator of Forests M Anwarul Islam was in the chair.

Sanaul said that the SRF with its non-wood resources, wildlife, tourism and fisheries, was not being properly managed in terms of bio-diversity conservation. That is why, the Sunderbans is facing depletion, he said.

From: Zakir Kibria

———-

International Workshop on Collective Strategies for the Conservation of Livelihood Sustenance in the Sundarbans

Venue : CSS Auditorium, Khulna

Dates : May 19 –20, 2004.

Introduction:

The Sundarban, which is a national as well as a World Heritage, is a

National Resource. But the world famous Sundarban is now endangered. As a result of natural and man-made disasters and as a long-term impact of ill-planned development activities, the lives and livelihoods of the people inhabiting the hinterland of the Sundarban have become vulnerable. The economic status of the people who had been traditionally dependent on the resources of the Sundarban is deteriorating.

In order, therefore, to identify effective strategies for sustainable

development of the people inhabiting the Impact Zone of the Sundarban, a two-day International Workshop was held at the local CSS Auditorium on May 19-20, 2004. Summaries of the findings of two research activities, one jointly by CDP and Action Aid Bangladesh titled “Livelihood issues of the rural population in the Sundarban Impact Zone” and the other by the Sundarban Chetana O Adhikar Mancha of West Bengal, India on “Issues of Livelihoods in the Sundarbans” were presented at the workshop. In six

working sessions covering two days, 11 presentations including research findings were made. Over 40 representatives from India and Bangladesh discussed the presentations in detail. At the conclusion of the workshop, a set of recommendations for the development of the lives and livelihoods of the people inhabiting the Impact Zone / hinterland of the Sundarban was adopted.

Principal Objectives of the Workshop:

1 Understanding the present status of the Livelihoods of the Inhabitants of the Sundarban Impact Zone.

2 Continuous Review of the following :

?? Bio-diversity Conservation Strategies of International Financial

Institutions;

?? All Policies being implemented nationally by the Government;

?? Peoples?? Initiatives for improving their Livelihoods.

3 Assist and cooperate with Collective Initiatives taken by the people for Sundarban

Conservation…..

The identified issues include :

1. Inadequate Service delivery

2. Inequitable Social Structure

3. Long-term impacts of Climate Change

4. Land deterioration and erosion

5. Changes in agricultural practices

6. Environmental pollution and damage to Natural Resources

7. Lack of Appropriate Technology and Infrastructure;

8. Deterioration of law and order situation;

9. Salinity in surface and ground water;

10. Limited Livelihood opportunities and inadequate economic management;

11. Natural Disasters, and

12. Management of Natural Resources without Peoples?? Participation.

For full summary, please contact Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu, Coordinator of CDP at cdp@khulna.bangla.net

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22pc of cultivable land in coastal areas salinity affected

OBAIDUL GHANI

NewAge, July 3, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

www.newagebd.com

About 187,300 hectares of reclaimed land ? 22.47 per cent of the total cultivable land ? in the coastal districts have been affected by salinity of varying degrees over the past three decades.

Salinity of 4.1-16ds/m has, meanwhile, left 730,990 hectares of land in the area completely unfit for foodgrain cultivation. Besides, 289,760 hectares of land ? where salinity ranges between 2 and 4ds/m ? yield 30-40 per cent less crops than usual.

The report on soil salinity in Bangladesh 2000, prepared by the Soil Resource Development Institute of the agriculture ministry and released in November 2003, says 1,020,750 hectares of about 70 per cent of cultivable land in the area is affected by varying degrees of salinity, up from 8,330,000 hectares in 1973.

The report attributes increasing salinity to low rainfall, withdrawal of fresh river-water upstream, introduction of brackish-water shrimp cultivation, faulty management of sluice gates, regular saline tidal water flooding in un-poldered mudflats or wetlands and upward movement of soluble salts due to presence of high-saline groundwater.

Salinity takes place in river deltas from a few kilometres up to 180 kilometres off the seacoast, the report says.

The upstream withdrawal of the Ganges water has increased salinity in the tidal river, decreased surface water availability in the rivers and canals, lowered groundwater table and reduced soil moisture content, it adds.

The availability of fresh water in the upstream plays an important role in controlling salinity intrusion. Any reduction of freshwater flow due to increased withdrawal for irrigation or any other purposes in Bangladesh or outside the country causes increase in intrusion of saline water.

The increase of water salinity has created suitable habitat for shrimp cultivation and played a major role in the increase in soil salinity, especially in south-western coastal areas.

Simultaneous cultivation of paddy and shrimp was introduced in about 1,360 hectares of high-saline areas nearly two decades ago.

In greater Khulna about 31,200 hectares of land in 1982-83 and about 98,850 hectares in 1993-94 were brought under shrimp cultivation. In 12 years, brackish-water shrimp cultivation has increased by about 215 per cent.

According to the report, salinity is a temporal situation and its effect is severe in the dry season but comparatively less in the rainy season. It also maps out five categories of saline-prone areas according to the degree of salinity.

The area covers large parts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Noakhali, Feni, Lakshmipur, Narail, Jessore, Madaripur, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Barisal, Chittagong and Cox?s Bazar and also parts of the Ganges river meander and tidal floodplain, Khulna-Gopalganj peat basin, Meghna estuarine floodplain and small part of the Chittagong coastal plain.

The total cultivated area under these districts is 1,459,150 hectares.

An expert of the Soil Resource Development Institute told New Age that crop yield in these areas may decrease from 30 to 40 per cent, if salinity varies from 2 to 4ds/m and will be nil if it is more than 4ds/m. ?Only sunflower, cotton, rabi tomato, coconut and betel nut can be cultivated in these areas.?

State Minister for Agriculture Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told New Age that the salinity problem could not be solved unless water flow of the rivers was increased.

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Conservation of Forest Biodiversity, Traditional Knowledge, and Intellectual Property Rights1

Zakir Kibria2

Part 1

This paper seeks to raise a few points, albeit briefly, regarding (a) conservation of forest biodiversity and (b) ‘traditional’ knowledge in the context of Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP) and it’s view that people living in or around the forest are the one responsible for erosion of forest biodiversity.3

Millions of people around the world representing great variety of cultures and plant and land uses practices live in or around the edges of the forests. In recent years, however, a large number of them have experienced increasing difficulties in gaining access to local forests and their products because of government regulations declaring common property resources into state forests, national parks, or wildlife reserves. In many forests commercial monoculture has also been promoted, fencing off parts or whole forest into private property. In many countries, plans to protect and conserve forest ecosystems have failed to pay adequate attention to needs and knowledge of the local people living in or around the edges of the forest for generations threatening the livelihood of the people.

Sundarban is the largest mangrove forest in the world; it is unique as an ecosystem.4 Strategies to conserve the forest and its biological resources are as old as the forest. Local people have been nurturing the forest for centuries. But official narratives of the history of forest conservation very often skip the role of people living in or around the forest. The history of the conservation of Sundarban is a subtext of the biography of Bangladesh as a nation state. It is a linear story from the days of the “wilderness” to Mogul Empire to British colonial rule to the formation of Bangladesh. Post liberation narratives of the conservation views it as a source of revenue for national exchequer.

Defining traditional knowledge

Conservation “specialists” have acknowledged the role of traditional knowledge and practices in forest conservation (Asare, 2002 and Colding   Folke, 1997).5 This is not to say that employing traditional knowledge alone is enough for management of forest biodiversity, but it does play an important role and it is necessary to recognize the role of traditional knowledge. Traditional knowledge refers to knowledge, innovation and practices of local communities living in a particular ecological system. Through generations of interaction with the ecology they gather knowledge on/about plants, animals, insects, microbes; for food, medicine, and other purposes. Developed from experiences gained over the centuries and adapting to the local culture and environment. Traditional knowledge is transmitted orally from generation to generation. It tends to be collectively owned and takes the form of stories, songs, folklore, proverbs, cultural values, beliefs, rituals, community laws, local languages and practices related to natural resources. Several other terms are used to describe it: indigenous knowledge, local knowledge, community knowledge, tacit knowledge etc. One point has to be highlighted: traditional knowledge is gendered. Practices and uses of natural resources vary according to the gender division of labour in a given community resulting in a gendered body of knowledge.6

Its role and value

There is today a growing appreciation of the value of traditional knowledge. This knowledge is valuable not only to those who depend on it in daily lives, but also to “modern” industry as well. Many widely used products, such as medicine, are derived from plants and microbes identified and used by local people. At least 7000 medical compounds used in western medicine are derived from plants used by local communities for centuries. The value of developing country germplasm to pharmaceutical industry in the early 1990s was estimated to be at least US $ 32 billion per year (RAFI/UNDP, 1994).

Traditional knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights

The possibilities of commercialization of traditional knowledge should lead us to the debates surrounding the intellectual property rights. Though western societies have not, in general, recognized any significant value in traditional knowledge. They usually regard the traditional knowledge under its intellectual property laws as “information” in the “public domain”, freely available for use by anybody. Moreover, in numerous cases, diverse forms of traditional knowledge have been appropriated under intellectual property rights regimes by researchers and commercial enterprises, without any compensation to the knowledge’s creator’s or possessors (RAFI/UNDP, 1994).

Bio-piracy: The case of Ayahuasca or the tip of the iceberg

Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis Caapi) is a plant used for many medicinal and ritual purposes. Ayahuasca is the vernacular name among the Amazone Quichua people, in whose language Ayahuasca means, “vine of the spirits”. It is a sacred plant to many indigenous people of Amazonia. In 1986, after research in Ecuadorian Amazonia, a US scientist (and president of the international Plant Medicine Corporation) was granted a patent on Ayahuasca (US plant patent No. 5,751). The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had to revoke it in November 1999. The USPTO based its decision on the fact that publications describing Banisteriopsis Caapi were “known and available” prior to the filing of the patent application. The USPTO’s decision came in response to a request for reexamination of the patent by the Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazone Basin (COICA), the Coalition for Amazonian People and their Environment, and lawyers at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) (Correa, 2001).

This is only one of the numerous examples of bio-piracy (RAFI/UNDP, 1994). This is only a tip of the iceberg.

SBCP, Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights

Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP) is the latest in conservation strategies for Sundarban. It has raised a few controversies. People living in and around the edges of the forest are critical about the project. SBCP does not spell out how or whether it plans to incorporate people’s knowledge in its conservation strategies. Rather it blames the local people for erosion of forest biodiversity and has lodged numerous criminal cases against them alleging theft of forest resources7. This is not new if we take into account the history of forest management in South Asia. State forest authorities have been fencing off the forest from local inhabitants declaring the forest areas as state property and private estate8 (Arnold and Guha, 1995).

What I would like to point here is that Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP) has totally ignored the issue of traditional knowledge of the local people. People living in and around the Sundarban have accumulated a great body of knowledge about the plant, aquatic and animal resources of the forest. This project has specific component for research; many information it plans to document and/or already documented was collected from the people living in or around the forest. Previous research on the forest obviously collected huge information from the people living in or around the forest. But those researches very often treated the people as “sources” of information. It raises another alarming question: intellectual property rights of the collected knowledge. Do we know what is there for the bio-prospectors (read bio-pirates)? Do we know what biological samples are being collected by eco-tourists9 Do we know what medicinal plants or microbes from Sundarban have been patented by western pharmaceuticals? Or will be patented in the coming years? Who has the rights over the knowledge collected by the SBCP? Will it be national property? Will again the reason of the state appropriate the traditional knowledge for the national economy? These are some of the questions that have to be answered adequately if we want to develop a strategy to conserve the Sundarban forest with people’s participation.

From: Zakir Kibria

———-

Man-eater on the prowl

Sharier Khan

The Daily Star

Sundarbans lovers beware unless you’re not scared of a tryst with a man-eater! A tiger is on a record-breaking killing spree.

Between January and May, this off-track tiger has killed 32 people and injured many more in Dingimari area of Satkhira district. It had another 27 scalps last year.

Fifteen honey collectors, leaves collector, fishermen, wood-cutters, a forest bandit and a forest officer feature among its kills.

But the hair-raising tales of the tiger’s unusual hunting habit, however, hardly daunt the poor people of the locality to venture into the forest, as its the only source of their livelihood, says tiger tracker Khasru Chowdhury.

“It needs to be killed,” points out Khasru who reports that during his stay in Dingimari area between April 30 and May 28, this tiger killed seven people. “The normal activity of this forest is being disrupted and soon men will turn up against the tigers if this killing goes on,” warns a worried Khasru.

“Maybe it’s more than one tiger. But so far I found evidence of one male medium-sized tiger that has become terribly addicted to human flesh,” Khasru points out. “Attacks are being reported every week. This tiger attacked a man earlier this week but he survived.”

The guardian of the Sundarbans, the Forest Department, acknowledges the killings, but says it has not taken any initiative. The chief conservator has the power to give such a man-eating tiger death sentence which is executable in 15 days.

“We are not sure which tiger is repeatedly killing humans,” says Rezaul Karim, deputy conservator. “We don’t want to kill a wrong tiger. After all, tiger being killed is a sensitive issue.”

Ali Kabir Haider, conservator of Khulna range forest, says from this month the government has introduced an insurance system for each legal visitor of the forest under which Tk 25,000 will be given to the family of a victim of tiger attack.

Tigers killed 427 people between 1984 and 2001, according to forest department statistics given by Haider. Of them, 53 percent were fishermen, 15 percent woodcutters and 13 percent honey collectors.

The last big man-eater tiger killed 52 people. But those killings took place in five years’ span between 1989 and 1994, whereas this new killer claimed 59 lives in less than 18 months. A woodcutter killed the previous man-eater by plunging his axe into its forehead when the tiger attacked him.

Some forest staff and professionals say the number of victims has increased with the growing number of trespassers.

The government increased the fee for entering the forest for honey collection or fishing two years ago and the measure saw a fall in the official number of visitors. The unofficial number kept rising though, as forest guards allow poor people to enter the forest for bribes.

Illegal logging has also increased with the patronage of some forest and security employees. Every day, these employees allow timber thieves to cut trees and then stage a ‘timber recovery drive’ in which no-one is arrested. And when the recovered timber is sold, the unscrupulous employees keep most of the sale proceeds with them, leaving little for the state coffers.

Forest officials in charge of Khulna range declined to comment on the racket.

From: Zakir Kibria

LATIN AMERICA
Honduras

In spite of continual death threats and attempted assaults, thousands of citizens

from all regions of Honduras began marching to the capital last Thursday. They

are demanding an end to the illegal logging that is devastating the nation?s

forests and to the government corruption that supports it.

Last year, Global Response organized an international letter-writing campaign

to support the demands of the first March for Life, which was organized in the

Olancho region (please see our action alert at this website).

In spite of the international pressure brought to bear by Global Response and

Amnesty International, one of the march?s organizers, Carlos Arturo Reyes,

was assassinated.

March For Life Proceeds From Coast To Capitol In Honduras

June 22, 2004

Contact: Bruna Genovese

(202) 232-3317

bruna@ciponline.org

CONGRESSMAN, FORMER AMBASSADOR, DAUGHTER OF ROBERT KENNEDY, ACTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES TO ACCOMPANY MARCH IN HONDURAS AGAINST ILLEGAL LOGGING

Illegal logging and related corruption have become so serious in the Central American nation of Honduras that thousands of peasants will be marching on the capital of Tegucigalpa on June 30 from all over the country to call an end to this devastating practice. The Center for International Policy, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, has organized a delegation of prominent U.S. citizens to accompany them:

Father Andrés Tamayo, the march’s chief organizer, predicts that 50,000 persons will participate. Campesinos will begin the march on June 24 from four different points around the country. Marching about 20 miles a day, they are scheduled to arrive in Tegucigalpa on June 30. Each night, community leaders will hold a teach-in for the host community. They will speak with residents about their rights as citizens in a democracy and encourage them to participate more fully in the civic life of the country.

The marchers intend to present the government with a list of demands calculated to put the brakes on illegal logging and the corruption that sustains it by involving communities in the management of local forest reserves. The “March for Life” is being organized by the Environmental Movement of Olancho and the Committee of the Families of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras, and will be supported by a number of religious, human rights, campesino, student, environmental and labor organizations.

Delegates will visit the marchers to discuss the impact of illegal logging on their lives and their hopes for change. They will meet with defenders of human rights and the environment, as well as Honduran government officials and business leaders.

The “March for Life” against illegal logging has already generated great controversy and great hope.

- The president of the Honduran Congress, Mr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa, has called for the expulsion from Honduras of all foreigners who participate in the March. Lobo Sosa is the leading candidate in the presidential election scheduled for next year. He represents Olancho, the department perhaps most afected by illegal logging and has close connections to the logging industry.

- President Maduro, like Lobo Sosa a member of the Nationalist Party, knowing he cannot win such a battle, has announced he will join the March and has publicly announced that he will take new actions on forestry sector reforms.

- The coordinator of the attorney general’s office, taking his cue from his President, carried out raids on police stations known for their complicity in illegal logging. He was immediately fired for his trouble, thereby causing more controversy.

- Padre Tamayo appears daily on TV, radio and the press calling on “all communities to unite in the search for justice and to wake up this country by participating in the March.”

The Center for International Policy (CIP) is an independent, non-profit, research and advocacy organization whose mission is to promote a U.S. foreign policy based on international cooperation, demilitarization, and respect for basic human rights. Ambassador White is CIP’s president and heads up its ongoing program in Honduras, which is designed to strengthen democracy and human rights through environmental causes. In his opinion, “Honduran democracy is hobbled not only by poverty and inequality but by the lack of political will to advance the common good.” Ambassador White is well known in the region, having served in Honduras in the 1970s as head of the U.S. embassy’s political section and then as ambassador to Paraguay and El Salvador.

From: Global Response

NORTH AMERICA
USA

Global shrimp market in turmoil

NewAge, July 7, 2004 www.newagebd.com

The world?s shrimp exporters are anxiously waiting for a ruling on whether Asian farmers are selling their produce at unfair prices.

US shrimp producers launched a lawsuit in January which alleged that Vietnam and China were dumping cheap products into their markets.

Asian seafood farmers, meanwhile, accuse the US of blatant protectionism.

The US Commerce Department will rule on whether extra tariffs should be imposed on Asian shrimps later on Tuesday.

If the US shrimp producers win, Washington will slap taxes on imported shrimp, forcing up the price and making it less competitive against locally produced seafood.

Last year Vietnam lost a bitterly fought campaign against a similar move by US catfish producers.

But the shrimp market in the US is worth a lot more. Vietnam sells shrimp worth about $500m (?270m) to the American market each year, compared to less than $60m in catfish.

A separate decision is also expected later this month on whether the US could impose sanctions on shrimp imports from a further six countries, including Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador and India. Southern shrimpers, struggling to cope with plummeting prices, filed a petition with the US International Trade Commission in February.

?It?s one of the largest cases ever filed, it?s against six countries around the world, there are thousands of companies,? said Eddie Gordon, president of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, which organised the petition.

From: zakir kibria

———-

Shrimp Alert

U.S. Proposes Tariffs on Shrimp Imports

By LEIGH STROPE

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Bush administration on Tuesday proposed tariffs on shrimp imports from China and Vietnam, finding that companies there were dumping frozen and canned warm-water shrimp products into the United States at

artificially low prices.

U.S. seafood distributors and retailers said Americans will face

Higher shrimp prices at restaurants and in grocery stores if the duties, which take effect later this week, are kept.

But shrimpers and processors disputed the claims, arguing that those companies’ huge profits could absorb any small increase without passing costs on to consumers.

Tuesday’s preliminary decision by the Commerce Department was another slap at China on the issue of trade this election year. Last month, the department proposed new tariffs on wooden bedroom furniture from China that it said was being dumped into the United States. Vietnam was hit with tariffs on its last year, prompting complaints of U.S. protectionism.

The proposed tariffs on Chinese exporters of frozen and canned

warm-water shrimp and prawn range from about 8 percent to 113 percent. Vietnam exporters face duties ranging from about 12 percent to 93 percent. Those numbers could change as the department continues investigating.

“I think the message here is clear, that we’ll enforce our trade

laws,” said James Jochum, assistant commerce secretary for import

administration.

U.S. shrimpers and processors, struggling from rock-bottom prices

Since 2001, filed the antidumping petition in December, seeking duties on shrimp from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador and India. Those countries account for about 75 percent of total U.S. imports of frozen and canned warm-water shrimp, Jochum said.

China and Vietnam were considered separately because they are not free market-based economies. China exported 169 million pounds of shrimp worth $419 million to the United States in 2003, while Vietnam exported almost 125 million pounds worth about $588 million, the department said. A decision on the other countries is expected later this month.

“These rulings confirm what the industry is painfully aware of,”

said Eddie Gordon, president of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, a group representing warm-water wild shrimp fisheries in eight states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The initial decision is “a critical step on the road to recovery for

Tens of thousands of fishermen, farmers and processors devastated by the massive volume of dumped Chinese and Vietnamese shrimp,” Gordon said.

The group claims the value of the U.S. harvest dropped by more than half between 2000 and 2002, from $1.25 billion to $560 million, because of dumping.

But food distributors and retailers say shrimp consumption in the

United States will drop and prices will rise as a result of the duties.

The price of shrimp “is clearly going to rise and it’s going to rise

dramatically if these taxes are left in place,” said Wally Stevens,

president and chief operating officer of seafood distributor Slade Gorton Co., and chairman of an industry task force opposing the tariffs. The Commerce Department excluded breaded, fresh, dried and cold-water

shrimp and prawns, and those found in prepared meals.

The Bush administration is facing political pressure to show that it

Is taking action to deal with America’s soaring trade deficits and the

loss since mid-2000 of nearly 3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs. The United States recorded a $124 billion trade deficit with China last year – the largest imbalance ever with a single country.

The U.S. International Trade Commission unanimously ruled in February that the imports were a factor in depressing shrimp prices, a necessary finding for an antidumping petition to be successful.

The commission will make a final determination next January on whether U.S. industry is being harmed by the imports. The Commerce Department then will set final dumping penalties.

From: Andrianna Natsoulas anatsoulas@citizen.org

STORIES/ISSUES
ENN

Sea protection costs less than fish subsidies, says study

JOHANNESBURG – Protecting the world’s oceans will cost governments far less than the amount they spend on subsidies for fishing fleets and will lead to bigger catches in the long run, according to a new study.

The study, by conservation group WWF International and Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, estimates that a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) covering 30 percent of Earth’s oceans would cost $12 billion to $14 billion annually.

It says this falls far short of the $15 billion to $30 billion already spent each year on subsidies to commercial fisheries, which environmentalists say encourages overfishing.

The study was published on Monday in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“MPAs turn around fisheries and build up (fish) populations in adjacent areas,” said Callum Roberts, one of the study’s authors who is a fisheries biologist at the University of York in England. “In St. Lucia in the Caribbean, fish catches increased by 50 to 100 percent as a consequence of MPAs created in 1995,” he said from his UK office.

Roberts said priority areas included tropical coral reef systems, which are threatened by overfishing and climate change.

Miniscule Portion of Sea Under Protection

According to WWF, only 0.5 percent of the sea is under protection, compared to 12 percent of the planet’s land area.

But the study says increasing marine protection to 30 percent of the global total would cost less than the subsidies that are splashed out on fishing fleets.

Critics argue that lavish government support, especially in the European Union, keeps unprofitable boats afloat and effectively pays them to chase after dwindling fish stocks.

“It (fishing subsidies) encourages too much capital into the industry, and people are fishing for subsidies rather than fish in the end,” said Roberts.

The report estimates that setting up and running an expanded network of MPAs would generate between 830,000 and 1.1 million full-time jobs directly. Further jobs would be created through increased fish catches and other spin-offs such as ecotourism.

It estimates MPAs would help preserve marine services valued at an estimated $7 trillion a year. This includes cash generated by tourism, fishing, waste recycling, and the price of coastal properties.

Nearly 75 percent of fisheries are categorized as overfished or fished to the limit. Some, like the once teeming cod fishery off the east coast of Canada, have completely collapsed and may never recover.

WWF said marine habitat loss now equals or exceeds that of rain forests, with 60 percent of coral reefs expected to be lost by 2030 if present rates of decline continue.

ENN

From: “Elaine Corets”

———-

FISH SAID TO BE SMARTER THAN GENERALLY REALIZED

Contributing to a special section on “animal minds” for New Scientist, researcher Culum Brown writes that fish are “more intelligent than they appear,” sometimes surpassing even non-human primates. He states that “fish not only recognise individuals but can also keep track of complex social relationships.” He also points to research showing that some fish use tools, build houses, and have excellent long-term memories and “fantastic spatial memory, equal in all respects to any other vertebrate.”

—SOURCE: Culum Brown: Not just a pretty face. New Scientist, June 12, 2004, page 42. www.newscientist.com

From: SeaSpan@pewoceanscience.org

———-

Bamboo: money that grows as you watch

Source: The Nation (Nairobi), 10 June 2004

A giant bamboo introduced into the country last year which achieves the phenomenal growth rate of one metre per day, could be a possible money spinner for local farmers.

The World Agroforestry Centre has already distributed more than 800 seedlings of the giant bamboo, Dendrocalamus giganteus, to farmers in Kericho, Kisii, Nandi South, Nyamira, Nyando, Siaya, and Vihiga Districts. The giant bamboo is nature’s fastest growing woody plant. Its culms (poles) are the strongest, lightest natural material known to man. A square metre of flooring derived from this plant will sell for as much as Sh8 000, while in Southern Asia it is used for reinforcing concrete and for scaffolding on skyscrapers.

It absorbs water faster than most plants and is used in some parts of the world for cleaning sewage. Even more important, it soaks up heavy metals. It is a potential answer to polluted waters in Kenya, including Lake Victoria whose shores are dotted with large urban centres that discharge domestic and industrial waste into its waters. Working with municipal authorities, ICRAF has plans to introduce the bamboo for waste water treatment in Kisumu and Kakamega. Further afield, ICRAF is also looking at local authorities in Nairobi, Mwanza and other towns dotting Lake Victoria’s shores.

No other woody plant matches the bamboo’s versatility in environmental conservation and commerce. It is a viable replacement for both hardwoods and softwoods. Its growth rate is three times that of eucalyptus, and it matures in just three years. Thereafter, harvests are possible every second year for up to 120 years.

India has some 20 million acres of commercial bamboo that account for 60 percent of the country’s massive paper requirements and much of its commercial timber needs. Over two million tons of edible bamboo shoots, rich in vitamins and low in carbohydrates, fats and proteins – are consumed around the world every year, mostly in Asia.

However, bamboo remains an untapped resource in Africa, a state of affairs ICRAF is addressing through a pilot project in Kenya. The project aims to create awareness on the environmental and economic benefits of bamboo in the Lake Victoria Basin, and hopefully popularize it throughout the region.

Interestingly, bamboo, a member of the grass family, is not new in Kenya. According to Prof Chin Ong, a hydrologist with ICRAF, Kenya’s water catchments were once covered in bamboo, but most of these forests have since been cleared.

This commercially attractive species can grow in areas traditionally used for sugar cane and coffee cultivation, thus providing an alternative or additional cash crop. Arundinaria alpina, a species of bamboo native to Kenya, will yield as many as 20 000 culms per hectare per year, with each culm growing to a height of 12m. Most species in fact grow to over 30m at full maturity.

Kenya has few privately owned commercial timber plantations. Most of the country’s timber comes from government forests managed by the Forest Department. However, these forests have been severely over-exploited with only limited replanting. Timber firms are now reportedly forced to import timber from the Congo and Tanzania to manufacture hard and soft board. The country’s leading paper manufacturer, PanPaper of Webuye, is also reportedly using plantation softwoods to fuel its boilers and make paper pulp. With its rapid growth and high woody fibre production, bamboo would supply both industrial needs.

At the household level, bamboo would be a valuable source of firewood and charcoal. It yields more than 7 000 kilocalories per kilogram, equivalent to half the yield from an equivalent amount of petroleum. Some species of the plant have large thorns, making them ideal for security hedges. Others grow tall straight culms that form ideal windbreaks that can be sustainably harvested annually. And of course edible bamboo shoots would be a nutritious addition to the family table. These shoots, mild and very crunchy, can be eaten raw or cooked. The Kenya Forestry Research Institute already grows several high quality edible varieties.

Bamboo rhizomes anchor topsoil along steep slopes and riverbanks, very effectively controlling erosion. Bamboo leaves, sheaves and old culms that die and fall to the ground decompose and create a thick humus layer that enriches the soil. Studies in South East Asia and Kenya have also shown that natural bamboo forests have excellent hydrological functions that promote soil health. Some species of bamboo absorb as much 12 tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per hectare, a valuable asset to deploy against global warming.

Bamboo can be propagated from seeds, though most species flower just once every 15 to 120 years. More viable mass propagation techniques include tissue culture.

From: “Elaine Corets”
manglar@comcast.net

———-

Honey Production From Mangroves Can Supplement Local Incomes

Note: This is from Can Tho University in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam for a course on Mangrove Ecology. Can Tho has a very large aquaculture program. This website was never completed and has not been updated for over 4 years, but it contains some very good information and should be linked to MAP’s site. It also has a good number of links, including the following on honey production:

Honey and beeswax

In Asia wild bees found in mangrove include Apis dorsata and A. florea but these only build small nests and are not important commercially. Apis mellifera and A. cerana can be kept in hives and used for commercial honey and beeswax production. In Sunderbans India and Bangladesh, about 1kg/year of honey can be produced from 10 ha mangrove, with total annual production of around 20 metric tons from mainly Ceriops forest. High quality honey is produced from Aegialitis and Cynometra ramiflora but also from Avicennia and Ceriops.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”
mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

———-

JOIN JULY 22 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST OLD WORLD BANK ORDER!

A SEED Europe

CEE Bankwatch Network

Friends of the Earth International

Jubilee USA Network

Oilwatch International

Rios Vivos Coalition

Sustainable Energy and Economy Network

50 Years is Enough Network

Dear friends,

On July 22, the World Bank will celebrate its 60th birthday. That day will mark 60 years of failed policies, 60 years of misguided loans, 60 years of increasing debt, and 60 years of dubious development projects.

July 22 will also be at the eve of a crucial decision at the World Bank. The groundbreaking Extractive Industries Review, which demands an end to all oil and coal financing – will be discussed by the Board of Directors. The board will decide whether to end Bank business as usual, which puts corporate profits before people and the planet.

World Bank Management has already let it be known that they intend to continue using billions of tax dollars to subsidize the oil, gas, coal, and mining industries. But it’s not up to them. The final decision rests with our government representatives on the World Bank’s Board. They need to hear loud and clear that the time for change is now.

Join the Global Day of Action on J-22 and call for the World Bank to:

- give communities the right to decide their own development path;

- stop investing in oil, mining and gas;

- respect human rights;

- exclude large dams from renewables initiatives;

- operate in full transparency;

- cancel 100% of impoverished country debt.

Suggestions for your local action include targeting your government or local World Bank offices with a banner hanging, marching, leafleting, street theatre, media work, bicycle demonstrations, and any other creative and effective non-violent actions you may think.

Daphne Wysham, SEEN Director

Act now! Join the Global Day of Action on the World Bank on J-22!

For more information visit: www.eireview.info

From: zakir kibria

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Wild salmon prices have been hurt

Times Colonist

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Re: “Consider the opportunity for B.C. seafood industry,” June 15.

Mary Ellen Walling talks about supply and demand in regards to salmon and seafood. What she does not mention is that market demand stimulated by increased supply comes with the consequence of lowering prices, sometimes drastically.

The wild fishery has struggled through low prices because farmed salmon product has flooded the market. Even the corporations searching for profit in farmed salmon have felt the blow: “an excessive increase in the supply of farmed salmon resulted in extremely low salmon prices . . . resulted in substantial negative earnings” (PanFish annual report 2002).

Salmon aquaculture is a threat to the wild fishery in B.C. – both environmentally and economically. In order to protect the price and market share of wild salmon, we must have an educated consumer public that does not equate wild salmon with its farmed counterpart. Consumers need the necessary tools, such as mandatory labeling of farmed salmon, in order to exercise their right to make informed choices.

Jennifer Kingsley,

Aquaculture Analyst,

Raincoast Conservation Society,

Victoria

(c) Times Colonist 2004

From: Lynn Hunter
hunterlynn@shaw.ca

———-

Proposed fish farm creates controversy

WebPosted Jul 5 2004 01:57 PM PDT

vancouver.cbc.ca

VANCOUVER – A group representing one of B.C.’s most lucrative fisheries is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to stop its plans to allow a Sablefish Farm.

The Canadian Sablefish Association says the DFO is about to allow a salmon farm to be re-stocked with Sablefish, also known as blackcod.

A company on Salt Spring Island plans to transfer cultivated juvenile sablefish to an open net pen in the Jarvis Inlet on the Sunshine Coast.

LINK: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada sablefish fact sheet

But, Eric Wickham, the executive director of the Canadian Sablefish Association, says that the risks to the natural stock are unknown.

“We do know there’s more than 20 different parasites,” he says. “We don’t know what happens when they’re put into an area where there’s juveniles, like what’s happening with the sea lice on salmon.”

The worry is that a parasite or new disease could jump from Atlantic salmon to the sablefish, and then infect wild sablefish along the west coast.

LINK: Canadian Sablefish Association

Wickham says B.C.’s $27 million wild sablefish industry could be wiped out if the DFO allows the farm to go ahead.

“The government seems to be prepared to risk the wild stock, in favour of fish farms.”

Wickham says this first farm could be just the beginning. He says the provincial government has already approved the conversion of 40 salmon farms to sablefish.

Officials from the DFO were not available for comment.

From: Lynn Hunter

1 This paper is based on an ongoing research investigating the role of traditional knowledge in the conservation of Sundarban mangrove forest. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at regional workshop of SBCP Watch Group in Khulna in March 2003 and at Department of Business and Management, University of Calcutta.

2 Researcher, BanglaPraxis: Collective Initiative for Research and Action. BanglaPraxis is a member of the SBCP Watch Group. SBCP Watch Group is monitoring ADB funded Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP). Contact information at the end of the paper.

3 Tradition is a widely contested term in social sciences literature, many writers have correctly pointed that it is impossible to understand the term without unpacking the tradition/modernity binary opposition and investigating the hegemony of western modernity (Asad, 1993). For reasons of space this argument will not be elaborated here.

4 For a description of the Sundarban mangrove forest and it’s biodiversity see Hussain and Acharya, 1994.

5 Colding and Folke have investigated the role of taboos and its relationship with the protection of threatened animals around the world (Colding and Folke, 1997).

6 Some writers have tended to associate women’s relationship with nature in an essential way, thus risking the reproduction of women/nature analogy.

7 SBCP Watch Group researcher advocate Fatema Khondokar is studying a few cases lodged by forest authorities. A paper based on that research was presented at a regional workshop on effective reformulation of the ADB funded SBCP in Khulna, Bangladesh on March 27, 2003.

8 Karl Marx’s old piece on ‘theft’ of wood in Germany may give us some insight on how communal property has been fencing off into private property depriving millions of forest dwellers of their livelihood.

Additional papers are available at this site, and we are soliciting other papers for inclusion on the site for general availability.

Please respond to LESRRL3@AOL.COM
ROBIN LEWIS

Late Friday News, 140th Ed., 22 June 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 140th Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus as I was away visiting for nine days aboard the Peace Boat as a guest speaker, sailing from Miami to Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, where I spent a few days visiting the Guatemala coast and mangroves there. Future conservation projects in the region are hopefully soon forthcoming for MAP!

Though this newsletter is brought to you for free, PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Contact: angroveap@olympus.net

Also, if applicable, Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!

Please consider helping MAP meet those demands for our presence at certain conferences and workshops whereby our greatest cost to attend important events is airfare, which often holds us back from
attending important fora where MAP’s presence should be felt.

Please donate your frequent flyer miles to MAP so we can be in the
right place at the right time to present MAP’s needed voice at such fora where too often the grassroots voice for the local communities
and for the mangroves is not heard.

If you wish to donate your frequent flyer miles, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net.

Your help in this important matter will be much appreciated!

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 140th Edition, 22 June 2004
FEATURE STORY
Shrimp’s Success Hurts Asian Environment, Group Says

MAP WORKS
MAP Holds 10th IHOF Workshop in Indonesia
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!
Work-Study Tour In Yucatan’s Mangroves
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Monkeys begging for food in the Degraded Mangroves
Squandering our natural resources

Indonesia
Haze starts to blanket Jambi, Riau

Malaysia
Haze from fires in Indonesia blankets two Malaysian cities
Malaysian scientists seek more environmental protection for Straits of Malacca

Vietnam
Shrimp farming could harm VN�s ecology: expert

S. ASIA
Bangladesh
BANGLADESH SHRIMP UPDATE
Govt mulls separate Sundarbans command
JOINT MEETING TO PROTECT WILDLIFE
Project: Sustainable Harvesting Campaign for Sundarban Biosphere in peril
Shrimp industry being ruined for toll
Shrimp export could see five-fold rise by 2008
Govt hatchery raises hope among shrimp farmers

LATIN AMERICA
Ecuador
A CALL FOR GLOBAL ACTION ON JULY 26th, THE DAY OF THE MANGROVES!:

Brazil
Environment Day For Brazil’s “Sea Perople”

Honduras
Award for Misconduct in Ramsar Site Questioned!
Bay Islands Threatened By Tourism Development

Mexico
Workers spill tar into protected Mexican mangrove, coral reserve

NORTH AMERICA
USA
Texas Officials Quarantine 4 Shrimp Farms
U.S. Shift on Organic Rules Proved Costly

STORIES/ISSUES
New Evidence of Impact of Global Changes on Remote Tropical Rain Forests

ANNOUNCEMENTS
‘Farming the Sea, Costing the Earth’ Report Out
Ramsar Handbooks on Wise Use of Wetlands
The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES FOR WETLANDS, MIRES AND PEATLANDS IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)

AQUACULTURE CORNER
“Salmon Farming,s “Foot-and-Mouth � Scotland,s Secret Disease Epidemic Exposed”
For Cod’s Sake

FEATURE STORY
Shrimp’s Success Hurts Asian Environment, Group Says

James Owen
for National Geographic News
June 21, 2004
Whether baked, barbecued, curried, grilled, stewed, or stir-fried, shrimp are palate pleasers throughout the Western world. The crustacean is the top-selling seafood in the United States. But shrimp’s meteoric rise has come at a heavy cost, say environmentalists.

A new report by the London-based Environmental Justice Foundation claims that the West’s appetite for jumbo-size tiger shrimp (also known as tiger prawns) is degrading the environmental health of many of the world’s poorest nations.

The impacts of shrimp farming range from wrecked mangrove forests and decimated wild fish stocks to pollution- and disease-prone coastal communities, according to the environmental nonprofit.

The foundation’s report questions the sustainability of the industry in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and other developing countries.

“Our report reveals a truly shocking catalog of environmental damage that has occurred as a result of a get-rich-quick attitude by shrimp farmers,” said Steve Trent, director of the Environmental Justice Foundation.

Damage detailed in the report includes the destruction of coastal mangrove forests; threats to human health and wildlife from antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals; a rise of sea-polluting waste effluents; and the depletion of wild fish stocks due to habitat loss and the growing demand for fish meal fed to shrimp stock.

“It is time for the seafood industry and governments to take a stand and end these abuses,” Trent added.

The shrimp-farming industry is now worth at an estimated 60 billion U.S. dollars globally. In 2001 shrimp overtook canned tuna as the top seafood choice in the U.S. Japan is the world’s biggest per capita shrimp consumer.

Around 99 percent of farmed shrimp is produced in developing countries in tropical regions such as Southeast Asia. These countries now have some 110,000 warm-water shrimp farms, covering around 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres).

The majority of these shrimp farms are located in coastal areas defined by coastal mangrove forests. The saltwater-tolerant, intertidal forests are some of the world’s most threatened habitats.

Globally, more than a third of mangrove forests have disappeared in the last 20 years, according to researchers at Boston University’s Marine Biological Laboratory. They note that as much as 38 percent of this decline is due to shrimp farm development.

Mangroves ‘Vital’

Scientists say that, in addition to supporting a huge diversity of plant and animal life, mangroves perform many vital functions:

° Mangroves guard against coastal erosion;
° act as bulwarks to tropical storms;
° regulate levels of soil salinity; and
° act as refuges and nursery areas for many different fish, crustaceans, and shellfish traditionally harvested by local communities.

Shrimp farm development can damage other coastal habitats, including salt marshes and freshwater wetlands, according to the foundation report.

The environmental nonprofit says organic waste from shrimp farms is blamed for smothering coral reefs and sea grass beds. In Thailand alone, shrimp farms discharge up to 1.3 billion cubic meters (340 billion gallons) of effluent annually, according to past studies.

The nonprofit’s report also highlights concerns over the levels of antibiotics, disinfectants, fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals used by shrimp farmers to maximize profits and combat disease.

Annabelle Aish, a marine researcher with the Environmental Justice Foundation, said: “Fertilizers can cause nutrient enrichment and eutrophication [aquatic plant blooms that deplete oxygen levels] of fresh and coastal waters, while pesticides are often highly toxic to aquatic wildlife which can lead to bioaccumulation in the food chain.”

“Antibiotics, which are often heavily and inappropriately used due to fears of disease, affect natural bacterial activity and can cause development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens,” Aish added. “These impacts are exacerbated by the removal of mangroves and other wetlands, which act as filters of pollutants.”

In the case of the widely used antibiotic oxytetracycline, scientists say around 95 percent of this non-biodegradable chemical finds its way into the wider environment.

A report by the American Society of Microbiology in 1995 singled out the use of antibiotics in aquaculture as potentially a leading cause of the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.

A recent study in Thailand by Swedish-based scientists found that 77 percent of bacteria in farmed shrimp were resistant to one or more antibiotics.

The Environmental Justice Foundation report also noted that increased demand for warm-water shrimp species in the West has prompted a shift toward a “slash and burn” style of aquaculture, because the networks of large, human-made ponds have to be abandoned after five or six years due to disease and poor water quality.

Farms Abandoned

In the upper Gulf of Thailand alone, 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) of farms were abandoned by 2000, with 90 percent of shrimp farmers left out of business, according to a Thailand Development Research Institute report.

Instead of intensive production systems, the Environmental Justice Foundation says other, more sustainable forms of shrimp farming, such as polyculture, should be encouraged.

“Polyculture” refers to a traditional farming method in Asia where several species are farmed together in the same water, helping to insure against the risk of disease and changing market conditions. In the Philippines, for example, fish, shrimp, and shellfish are farmed among mangroves in a system known as tumpang sari.

Another option, says Aish, are certified organic farms which “are obliged to use nontoxic inorganic compounds, rather than chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and antibiotics,” she said. “[Organic farms] also make an effort to reduce their reliance on fish meal [for fertilizer or animal food].”

Yet there may be financial reasons why less intensive forms of shrimp farming are not practical, said Rohana Subasinghe, a senior fisheries officer with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Inland Water and Aquaculture Service.

“Certification is not necessarily a silver bullet,” said Subasinghe. “It means costs-and for small fish and shrimp farmers, those costs may be prohibitive,” Subasinghe said. “Without doing something to address that [added expense], you could see thousands of small-scale families pushed right out of business in the developing world.”

“Another challenge is coming up with a coherent set of standards that make sense on a global scale,” Subasinghe said, noting that this is no easy task. “Especially when standards are set in rich importing countries and must be met by poor exporting countries with very limited technical and financial resources.”

Aish, the Environmental Justice Foundation marine researcher, advises consumers to “cut down on eating shrimp, or cut it out altogether-unless you can be assured it comes from sustainable sources.”

“Consumers have considerable power and responsibility,” she said. “With their help, unsustainable methods of shrimp farming can begin to be eradicated.”

From: Mike Shanahan

MAP WORKS
MAP Holds 10th IHOF Workshop in Indonesia

A small Coastal Communities Resource Center (CCRC) was constructed by local organizers — JALA and P3MN– to host the 10th In the Hands of the Fishers (IHOF) workshop. The CCRC was built in a neo-traditional style, and blessed by a local leader who cried during the ceremony because the building reminded him of his youth.

It also turned out to be a spectacular venue for a fisherfolk meeting. Sitting on the floor on woven mats, with a high roof and figures cut out of the low walls to allow plenty of ventilation, fisherfolk participation in this meeting was high from the onset. There was an amazing amount of exchange, taking place both in the CCRC as well as the fisherfolk village directly with the local community… the type of exchange that is not feasible in a hotel.

Behind the building, a natural looking public restroom and washing area was built, and is already well utilized by the nearby villagers. The location of the CCRC is in a marginal area of the village where the poorer families live, and was once a thriving mangrove. In the 80′s, employees of the nearby Aluminum processing plant (the largest in Asia) bought up much of the mangrove north of the village for conversion to shrimp ponds. In creating the shrimp ponds, a large channel was dug which separates the village (and the CCRC building) from the ponds. This robbed the mangrove of waters from tidal exchange, and the mangrove is now stunted and for all intents and purposes a terrestrial mangrove. We are now looking into how mangrove can be re-established without disturbing the settlement areas that have been built since the shrimp pond development.

More than half of the shrimp ponds adjacent to the village are disused, and potential to do some rehabilitation in the area is high but needs some work on the public awareness and land ownership/access side of things before any kind of plan can be created. During the workshop we held a 4-hour session on mangrove rehabilitation for about half of the participants (the other half were studying improved cook stoves at the time) and we thoroughly went through the concept of hydrology and its connection to mangrove health.

Back to the workshop, the group spent the first day and a half getting to know the village. This took place through touring the village and creating sketch maps of the village in the present day as well as the past. A working mural of the village’s past was accomplished by interviewing village elders. These activities were taken straight out of the book }Do Your Own Mangrove Action Project,” and were intended to help fisherfolk leaders and NGO folks begin the process of problem identification. After drawing the murals the participants gave short presentations about their drawings and came to some conclusions about how change took place over time in the Kuala Indah village, and we had some discussion about the relationship between change and the quality of life. In closing this segment of the workshop we had a presentation by the local villagers on the history and current status of the village to cross check the information gathered by the local participants. Pak Nasir, a local village leader was astonished that in the creation of maps of the villages past and present, outsiders discovered things about the village in a only a day and a half that he himself never knew.

In the next workshop segment, we wanted to allow visiting fisherfolk to share information about their villages and developments in coastal and marine management. But this is often the most time consuming and static part of IHOF workshops, so we opted to hold group discussions on specific topics, to keep the meeting participatory and dynamic.

Three discussion groups were formed, one on the trawler issue, one on fisherfolk experiences with sustainable livelihood alternatives (such as seafood processing and community based eco-tourism), and the third group an all-women’s discussion. (Wait for the final report for a synopsis of the dialogue and recommendations for follow-up that came out of these three discussion groups.)

Then came day three and the toolkit workshops. In the morning the group chose from Nypah Palm Utilization or Blue Manna Crab catching and processing. Most participants opted to learn about Nypah and we piled into 6 small boats to visit a dense area of Nypah. The Thai and Malaysian participants had more experience utilizing Nypah than the Indonesian participants, but everyone learned something new, and sharing of techniques for gathering sap, food, and traditional medicine from Nypah where taught in-situ. (On my follow-up trip to Malaysia I visited a home where a man made his living entirely from collecting Nypah sap from 50 trees in his backyard. I will add this documentation to the final report, which will surely prove useful to the Indonesianparticipants. This also allowed my wife, Ary, to gather the final bits of information needed for her children’s book on Nypah palm, which should be ready in a few months (we still need funding for printing of the book)).

Coming back to the CCRC in the late morning, the group learned how to make palm sugar using the Improved Palm Sugar Cookstove built behind the CCRC. A palm sugar producer came down from the North Sumatran highlands to give this demonstration, and used “Aren” palm sap (Arenga pinnata) as we had not collected enough Nypah palm sap but the process is the same.

During the cooking of the palm sugar, an impromptu session on preparing dried/salted stingray broke out, led by the Thai women participants. Indonesian and Malay men and women alike took turns learning to cut the ray meat properly in order to form a visually pleasing little ring like a canned pineapple slice. The laundry/dishwashing area that is part of the public restrooms functioned well for this small-scale fish processing. Needless to say information about methods, price and marketing where exchanged informally.

In the afternoon, the group chose between attending a session on mangrove rehabilitation or improved cook stoves. For details on these two toolkit sessions I will defer to the final report.

At night we had an endless session on follow-up. The NGO folks and the fisherfolk split into two groups, and the NGO folks were put to shame. The fisherfolk had a lively marathon discussion, replete with shouting, jumping, singing and dancing, while the NGO folk spent the first hour in a sort of halted discussion about what to do next. That was all part of the plan. It was thought that in order for the fisherfolk to speak freely, we needed to separate the NGO folk. Nonetheless both groups went from 9 p.m. to 2 in the morning.

In the morning of the 4th day, we had a reporting out of the follow-up discussions which included a lot of talk about various types of future IHOF workshops and creation of a regional anti-trawler network. (details later). Then we boarded the bus for the trip back to Medan with one final excursion to Desa Naga Lawan (Defending Dragon Village), home of Pak Zaman, the sole Sumateran fisherfolk participant from IHOF #3.

There we had a nice seafood meal (the bonus of working with fisherfolk), and a walk around the village looking at an interesting Empang Parit silva-fisheries system, and finally down to the beach where we happened upon a stranded Indo-Pacific Humped-Backed Dolphin (Sousa chinensis).

This dolphin varies greatly in appearance depending on where it lives The animals west of Sumatra have a fatty hump on their backs and a relatively small dorsal fin, whereas those living east and south of Sumatra have no hump but a more prominent dorsal fin. There are several distinct colour variations. (Jim says in Thailand the fisherfolk distinguish two varieties, pink and greyish, we ran across a pink one).

This one had been stranded for a little while, and two local fisherfolk were considering whiter or not to turn it into dolphin satay when our group ambled up. Folks took turns holding the dolphin but failed to realize that unlike a fish, a stranded and weakened dolphin needs to keep its head (and blowhole) above the surface of the water. When we finally lifted her head up out of the she produced a blasting sigh of relief from her blowhole. After a few minutes, Maurizio Farhan Ferrari and myself aided the dolphin back to sea, beaching itself two more times on sandbars in the process, but as the saying goes �third time’s the charm.’ In an interesting note, on the charmed final try, I spoke to the dolphin telling her to take a rest and this time to steer right of the sandbars, and she nodded her head twice in approval. Farhan immediately said, ñshe understands you,� and I answered ñof course, because she is much much smarter than us silly humans,� she nodded her head �yes’ again and with a final effort was on her way back to deeper waters.

So in closing this report, we can say that aside from pulling off the first IHOF in a fisherfolk village, building a small CCRC in the process and building friendships and partnerships for future work, this IHOF was directly responsible for saving the life of a beautiful and clever dolphin.

From: “Ben Brown” map-indo@dps.centrin.net.id

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New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at:Mangrove Restoration

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com.

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp. (PDF file)

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

=====
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!

Please consider helping MAP meet those demands for our presence at certain conferences and workshops whereby our greatest cost to attend important events is airfare, which often holds us back from attending important fora where MAP’s presence should be felt.

Please donate your frequent flyer miles to MAP so we can be in the right place at the right time to present MAP’s needed voice at such fora where too often the grassroots voice for the local communities and for the mangroves is not heard.

If you wish to donate your frequent flyer miles, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net.

Your help in this important matter will be much appreciated!

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. Grounds For Change

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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Work-Study Tour In the Mangroves

MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Oct. 1-10 , 2004

A mangrove-restoration and sea turtle conservation project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being now reconsidered for a later date-from Oct. 1 10, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles, as well as explore the unique cenote and reef ecosysyems of the region. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Bangkok Pot 01Jun2004

Monkeys begging for food in the Degraded Mangroves

Mangrove destruction cause of their plight

Sutthiwit Chayutworakan – Samut Prakan

Hungry wild monkeys are descending on a beach in Muang district to beg for food every morning and afternoon, because their natural mangrove forest habitat has been encroached on and can no longer feed them.

Boonkeua Jabthanom, 52, who lives near the forest on Ammara beach in tambon Thai Baan, Muang district of Samut Prakan, said 10-20 crab-eating macaques from the mangrove forest beg for food from villagers, who fed them twice a day with rice and fruit.

Some of the animals are so hungry they break into houses to steal food if people are not at home.

The monkeys returned to the community early this year after a group of villagers, who used to catch them to cook and eat their meat and brains, had moved away, he said.

Villager Samnao Nakyanyong said the wild monkeys numbered more than 50 about 15 years ago when she first arrived at the village, but there were far less of them now.

Most had fled after being hunted or hurt by villagers, she said.

About 10 monkeys returned to the village earlier than usual this year and some brought along their offspring to beg for food, she said.

Paiboon Pinthiang, Moo 4 village headman in tambon Thai Baan, said the number of wild monkeys had declined as they had begun migrating to the opposite side of the river bank near Chulachomklao Fort years ago, after villagers encroached on their mangrove forest to set up shrimp farms.

However, they had returned to the forest early this year after mussle farms were established near the fort.

Mr Paiboon urged the local community to help protect the monkeys and called for money to be allocated from local bodies to conserve the environment and promote tourism on Ammara beach _ made famous as the location for the movie Thaley Thong (Golden Sea), which starred Ammara Asavanonda, a leading actress of her time.

From: Mike Shanahan

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Bangkok Post May 29, 2004

EDITORIAL

Squandering our natural resources

Where are our environmental activists when we really need them? The protesters who made such a fuss about a Hollywood studio filming The Beach on Koh Phi Phi several years ago and their predecessors who tried to block attempts to film the James Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun on islands off Phangnga in 1974, have faded as far into the background as the promises made by the authorities to drastically enforce all provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, when it was passed into law more than a decade ago. Remaining very much in the foreground, though, is the home-grown pollution still fouling beaches and beauty spots in the Kingdom and the general apathy which has replaced environmental awareness.

A cry for help went up from the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy last week, on behalf of 141 beaches in danger of falling victim to greedy developers acting in the guise of promoting tourism. The Office wants to see closer monitoring of these beautiful sites and resorted to a direct appeal to raise awareness among local communities because of fears that some officials lacked awareness of beach conservation and might not be able to safeguard these sites.

The 141 beaches deemed at risk were selected by a joint research team from Chulalongkorn University’s Environment Research Institute and the Marine Science Department. They found that Phae and Pak Nam Rayong beaches in eastern Rayong province face more than a 50% chance of their natural beauty being destroyed by inappropriate development. The popular tourist resort beaches of Hua Hin and Cha-Am are also on the list, with the risk of their suffering serious damage estimated to be as high as 35-37%.

In some cases, poor communication between government agencies is at fault. Nam Rin beach in Rayong was cited by Chula’s Environment Research Institute as an example of where inappropriate development had taken place because a footpath had been built along the beach. However the local tambon administration said they had been powerless to prevent it because the project had been approved by a committee reporting to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The appeal to save these 141 beauty spots had a precedent in 1989, when a similar approach led to the successful preservation of 263 beaches, waterfalls and mountains which were also designated “Natural Sources for Local Conservation”.

Sad to say, provincial environmental officials are sceptical as to whether this new declaration will lead to any effective conservation activities or monitoring. There is a feeling we have become more materialistic and cared more for the preservation of our environment back in 1989. That attitude must change.We should remind ourselves and others that the environment _ our air, water, lands, forests and all the other natural gifts of our country _ belong to all Thais. Not a moneyed elite. Equal shares belong to the government and businesses, the farmers, assembly-line workers, city-dwellers and country folk, military and civilian alike. No one among any of these groups should deem themselves worthy of special privileges. We know that the richness of our country will not last forever. But there is no real meeting of minds on how to deal with the environmental degradation we see all around us. To some, it appears that each step taken forward to protect our natural resources is followed by two steps back, and there is a disconcerting lack of genuine public interest and debate.

It might already be too late to paint our country “green” and restore it to what it once was, though we can but try. If we fail, we deserve the wrath of the next generation for squandering their heritage.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”
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Indonesia

Haze starts to blanket Jambi, Riau

June 19, 2004

The Jakarta Post – Jon Afrizal, Jambi

Haze from forest fires and land clearing work has blanketed Jambi and Riau provinces on Sumatra island at the start of the dry season.

Despite the haze, local residents went about their daily activities as usual and there were no reports of flights in or out of the area being disrupted.

The haze has blanketed Jambi and neighboring Riau for the past two days.

Jambi Governor Zulkifly Nurdin was quoted by Antara as urging all residents to stop burning land in order to prevent the forest fires from spreading.

Local authorities said they had detected as many as 29 hot spots across Jambi, mostly on private industrial plantations and in forestry concession areas.

The hot spots are located in seven regencies in Jambi: Batanghari, Muarojambi, Bungo, Tebo, Sarolangun, West Tanjungjabung (Tanjabbar) and East Tanjungjabung (Tanjabtim).

There is fear the fires will spread as no rainfall is expected within the next few days.

Fire has also caused damage in the National Bukit Tigapuluh Park in Tebo, where at least two hot spots have been detected and local officials have warned that the number of hot spots could increase.

The National Berbak Park has also been damaged by fires that burned brushland in the park.

In Pekanbaru, haze has covered the Riau capital city for the last two days. Residents said that haze was caused by fires in suburban areas.

“Our nose and face hurt if we travel on a motorcycle in Pekanbaru,” resident Muhammad Firman told Antara.

However, no motorcyclists in the city were seen wearing masks despite the chocking haze the covers the city, particularly in the morning and afternoon.

Firman urged the authorities to take immediate action to cope with this problem by extinguishing all hot spots across Riau.

“This should be dealt with or else locals will suffer more losses from the forest fires, even though we weren’t the ones who started the fires.”

In previous years, people on Sumatra and Kalimantan islands have had to suffer through months of suffocating smoke from forest fires and land clearing, disrupting their daily activities and causing illnesses.

Jambi provincial administration spokesman Haroes Saad warned that action would be taken against anyone ignoring the governor’s order to stop burning land.

Jambi forestry office official Joko Fajar said on Friday the forest fires were caused by “recklessness” on the part of residents and forest concessionaires.

Some of the fires may have started from farmers clearing their land by burning it, with the fires then spreading to adjacent commercial plantations, he said.

“Another possibility is that people are burning land used by concessionaires for their plantations.”

“And because these land disputes have not yet been settled, the problem with fires will continue,” Fajar told The Jakarta Post.

The government banned the practice of open-field burning in 1999 after widespread fires caused a thick haze to blanket parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore that year.

The fires sparked diplomatic rows with neighboring countries that are grouped in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

However, enforcement of the law is often lax as corrupt officials turn a blind eye. The annual haze phenomenon is at its worst during the dry season, which runs from July to October.

From: “murni”

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Malaysia

Haze from fires in Indonesia blankets two Malaysian cities

June 19, 2004
The Jakarta Post – KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP): Smoke from wildfires in Indonesia is drifting across neighboring Malaysia, shrouding its two largest cities in thick haze Tuesday and sending air quality plummeting to unhealthy levels, officials said.

For the second day, a pall of smoky haze hung in the sky over Kuala Lumpur and Penang, obscuring the skyline, reducing visibility on the streets and at the airport, and sparking reports of breathing difficulties among some people.

Asmah Ibrahim, the director of the Environment Department’s air division, said the air quality in Kuala Lumpur had deteriorated since the weekend, but could not immediately provide figures from the official air pollution index.

However, initial data Tuesday showed that some northern states and cities, including the tourist island of Penang, had unhealthy air, she said. Other parts of the Malaysian peninsular showed “moderate” air quality.

Visibility at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport was down to 3 kilometers (2 miles), from the normal 10 kilometers (6 miles), but airport spokeswoman Wan Hasmi said the flight schedule was unaffected so far.

The government on Monday banned all open burning, except cremations, in northern states.

In 1997-98, fires set mainly on oil palm plantations and agricultural holdings in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Kalimantan provinces burned out of control for weeks, destroying 10 million hectares (25 million acres) and blanketing Singapore and parts of Malaysia and Indonesia with thick smoke. (*)

From: “murni”

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Malaysian scientists seek more environmental protection for Straits of Malacca

Friday, June 18, 2004
By Sean Yoong, Associated Press
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Scientists who visited remote Malaysian islands left unexplored for the past 50 years discovered rich ecosystems that they urged Thursday should be saved from destruction in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.

Shipping, fishing, and diving activities have polluted the waters, ravaged coral habitats, and threatened some species with extinction in the strategic Straits of Malacca, which separate peninsular Malaysia from Indonesia’s Sumatra Island.

Thirty-two researchers from the University of Malaya last week explored five islands that remain a cradle for tropical biodiversity because their location is relatively distant from the commercial and tourism routes, expedition leader Phang Siew Moi said.

“Many people insist that the Straits of Malacca are completely polluted, but our expedition proves there are still hidden jewels left that must be protected,” Phang told a news conference. “Our discoveries went beyond our highest expectations.”

Researchers detected some of the largest corals of their kind ever seen in Southeast Asian waters, and new species of marine fungi that could be used in developing pharmaceutical products.

One of the islands, which British experts described as a “barren outcrop” during the last scientific expedition there in the 1950s, has matured into a thriving ecosystem with sea birds, dragonflies, beetles, turtles, fish, and various vegetation, Phang said.

The scientists voiced concerns that such areas could soon be imperiled because of increasing traffic in the straits, stemming not just from commercial vessels but from maritime patrol boats that guard them from rampant piracy and the possible threat of terrorist-linked attacks.

“We expect a lot of activities that could impinge on these pristine islands,” Phang said.

The United States and Singapore have expressed concerns that the 50,000 commercial vessels – from cruise ships to supertankers – that travel the straits every year are vulnerable targets for the al-Qaida terrorist network and its South Asian affiliates.

Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore have pledged to safeguard security.

Azhar Hussin, a senior member of the scientific expedition, urged the Malaysian government to declare new protected areas to keep out fishers, tourist operations, and merchant ships that might discharge oil or waste while passing through the 900-kilometer (550-mile) straits.

“Otherwise, all this unique beauty might be lost forever,” Azhar said.
Source: Associated Press ENN

“Elaine Corets” manglar@comcast.net

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Vietnam

Vietnam News
Monday, June 7, 2004

Shrimp farming could harm VN�s ecology: expert

Quang Ngai � Although raising shrimp has helped reduce poverty in the central region, it is also causing many negative impacts on environment, said Dr Nguyen Chu Hoi from the Institute for Economics and Marine Planning.

He spoke at last Friday�s seminar on environmental pollution caused
by shrimp farming. The seminar, which was held in central Quang Ngai Province, coincided with World Environment Day ( June 5).

Hoi said the large scale shrimp farms threaten to dry out fresh
underground water resources. He also warned that sea water and
underground water are often polluted, or become brackish, and the
thinning of protective forests (caused by fresh water shortage) causes increased erosion and storm damage.

According to a recent investigation conducted in the central region,
shrimp raised on 300ha for two crops need about 15 million cubic metres of fresh water per year. On a larger scale, 800ha needs about 40 million cubic metres per year.

These requirements are not sustainable for such a hot and dry area like the central region, particularly along coastal sandy areas where fresh water resources are limited.

“Over-tapping fresh water for shrimp raising would cause landslides,
and water resources would dry out, directly affecting locals� daily
water supplies and agricultural production in surrounding areas,” Hoi said.

In addition, each hectare of a shrimp farm is responsible for producing eight tonnes of solid waste per year. Currently, almost all shrimp raisers dump the shells, excess food and other by-products into the ocean. This pollutes sea water along coastal areas and destroys valuable marine resources�including bathing beaches and national parks.

Many shrimp farmers also eliminate used water by dumping it in
surrounding areas, causing underground water and ponds to become brackish. Shrimp diseases are also spread from pond to pond this way, Hoi said.

Hoi outlined several solutions. He suggested that special priorities
should be given to businesses that pay close attention to environmental protection by constructing solid concrete ditches and water drainage systems.

Authorities should manage the planning, appraising and licensing of
various aqua-product projects, including shrimp farming.

Environmental impact assessments should be carried out on shrimp
raising projects, focusing on fresh underground water reserves, to
provide a legal basis for farm limits. In addition, environmentalists
should monitor the areas around shrimp ponds and advise farmers on how to prevent environmental degradation.

Shrimp farmers should build a waste treatment system to avoid leakage in surrounding areas. For sustainable development, they should also construct fresh water reserves to tap rain and surface water from rivers and streams, while trying to use less underground water.

Salt flat shrimp farms in the central region include Ninh Thuan (200ha in total), Quang Ngai (60ha), Thua Thien-Hue (16ha), and Quang Tri (6ha), based on figures compiled mid-year 2002.

However, major projects (more than 100ha per project) are located in the central province of Ha Tinh�s Thach Ha and Cam Xuyen districts and Quang Binh�s Quang Ninh and Le Thuy districts.

Farmer Tran Ngoc Hien in the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan earned VND400 million from his first harvest when he netted almost all 11 tonnes of shrimp for each ha of his total 15.6 ha last year.

Concerns about over-exploited sea resources and potential economic and social ramifications recently spawned a publicity month on sustainable sea development.

Many international organisations have offered to help Viet Nam in sea preservation, with US$3 million in aid committed so far in support of the formulation and implementation of Viet Nam Agenda 21. � VNS

Vietnam News

If you would like to be added to the Shrimp Alert list, send
an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERVER.CITIZEN.ORG with the words “subscribe SHRIMPALERT” in the message.

From: Andrianna Natsoulas-Public Citizen

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S. ASIA

Bangladesh

BANGLADESH SHRIMP UPDATE

This is to give you all an update on what is happening regarding shrimp farming in Bangladesh. In Nijera Kori, we are now focusing most of our campaigning and advocacy attention and efforts on the situation in the Noakhali district, in the middle of the coast belt. Strong vested interest groups are now pushing for an expansion of shrimp farming also in this area, which has so far been concentrated to the Chokoria, Khulna, Satkhira and Bagherhat areas. To do this, they are trying to force the landless people away from the land that they have settled on and are farming.

The lands in question are the new char areas in the very southern part of the district. Char land is formed when silt carried by the rivers settle by the sides of the river. This new land is defined as khas land, owned by the Government and by law meant to be distributed among the landless. In May 2003, the Land Ministry declared 11,955 acres of social forestry- and khas land as shrimp zone. Out of this area, 8% is privately owned, 34% is (planted) forest, 31% is khas land (no registration by landless), 17% khas land already distributed and registered to landless, and 10% is yet without survey by land administration. Nearly 13,000 families are settled in these areas, which are scattered along the riverbanks and the coast in Sadar and Companigonj thanas, Noakhali district.

Resistance
The landless people in the area have not sat quietly and accepted the situation, but instead they are fighting for their rights. Their very livelihoods are at stakes, since most of the families live from farming and fishing, or seasonally as day labourers. Shortly after the declaration, they submitted a petition to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) to protest the declaration, and organized a protest march in the district town. The villagers express that �getting the legal papers to the land is our first priority�. Without this security in life, there is little scope for their development.

In Char Majid, a village on the bank of a tributary to the river Meghna, actual fights took place in the fields during 19 days in the last monsoon season. Here, the pharmaceutical and food processing company Globe is trying to expand their fish- and shrimp ponds further onto the khas land, and they are using hired terrorists to try to evict the landless people. Presently, they are running ponds on 1200 acres, without legal papers. The embankments built around the pond are hindering the river to overflow the agricultural land in the rainy season, and bring the much-needed silt that normally fertilizes the land.

Ruhima Khatun and Ruhul Amin�s homestead is situated only a few tens of metres from the fence that protects the Globe pond area. Around their house grows only a few shoots of banana trees and the place gives a very barren impression. Terrorists came here last year, tied up the family members, destroyed their house, cut down their trees and disappeared with all the material.
�They came with guns, and we were too afraid to even look them in the eyes. But what can we do now, we have nowhere else to go�, says Ruhima.

In Nobbogram, a nearby village, the Nijera Kori members have supported the struggle against the declaration, even if they are not directly affected. They fear that salt water will infiltrate their lands and affect fertility. Ismael says;
� The shrimp farm only gives benefits to a few people. The majority has no interest in them. They don�t offer us any job opportunities�.
In Char Majid the effects of the dams are already seen. Paddy yields have decreased up to 50% in the fields nearest to the ponds. The people are often affected by skin diseases, which they blame on the pesticides that are used in the ponds.

Fighting is also going on in many other places. Presently, the Char Zia is one of the hot spots, where conflicts arise almost every day, as land grabbers are trying to force the landless settlers away from their homes. Instigation of false cases is a very common measure of intimidation.

A legal battle
The declaration of the nearly 12,000 acres as shrimp zone is contrary to existing land policies. After much preparation, Nijera Kori filed a writ petition against the Government (Land Ministry), in early November 2003 on behalf of its members, settled in the areas under the declaration. On this case, we cooperated with BELA, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, who is acting as the legal representative. In this process, more than 300 of the affected people from the char came to Dhaka to testify in the High Court.

On 28 January, 2004, the High Court announced its court order on this writ. It was stated in favour of the Nijera Kori members, saying they cannot be evicted or harassed so long as there is no plan for their rehabilitation. But since this order does not extend to include all those people settled on the case land, we are trying to proceed to file a few new cases. BELA is now conducting research in order to be able to file separate cases on the issue of the forest land and the privately owned and already registered khas land. Many anomalies exist in Bangladesh land laws and Government policies related to land use, but these contradictions (whether land allocation for the landless, for forest or for commercial purposes should be prioritised) are not recognized. This makes the cases difficult to prove.

The future
Initiatives are now under way to rehabilitate the landless in cluster villages under the CDSP (Char Development and Settlement Project), funded by the Dutch government. The CDSP was originally designed to distribute khas land to the landless and to improve infrastructure in the area. Concentrating the landless in cluster villages will make land available for forestry and shrimp farming. The Fourth Fisheries project (Gov�t run, funded by DFID), will cooperate with DANIDA in a Golda (freshwater prawn) cultivation project similar to the one that was carried out in Khulna in 1996-2001. This project did not manage to reach the poorest sections of the villages in a satisfying way. Nor did it address power inequalities in the marketing system..

To create a debate on this issue on the national level, Nijera Kori has recently brought a team of seven journalists from the major national dailies, to the char area. The team met with the landless people as well as the land administration officials and the MP, and have gotten a good and clear picture about what is going on.

We welcome you to use this case/example in your own campaigning against the destructive shrimp farming. Please contact us if you want further information about the situation, or have suggestions on how you would like to assist us and the landless people in the struggle for justice. We are not requesting any action on your part at this stage, but ask you to stay alert in case we should need your support in the near future. Any suggestions on how to tackle this situation will be welcomed.

Rezanur Rahman Rose
Khushi Kabir
Anna Axelsson

From: Nijera kori

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Govt mulls separate Sundarbans command
The Daily Star, June 20, 2004. Dhaka, bangladesh

The government is mulling a proposal for setting up a separate, independent management body for the Sundarbans in order to preserve its bio-diversity.

In a momentous meeting yesterday, it was also decided to make eco-friendly modifications of the policy currently applied in mobilising resources from the world’s largest mangrove forest.

Participants of the meeting, convened to review a report on the Sundarbans Bio-Diversity Conservation Project (SBCP) prepared by Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Sundarbans Stewardship Commission, advised the government to adopt a more pro-preservation policy in case of the Sundarbans, also a world heritage site.

Environment and Forest Minister Tariqul Islam chaired the discussion held at the ministry’s conference room and participated by conservation experts, academics, high officials, and representatives from forest department and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Pointing at the progressive decay the Sundarbans has been going through for long, a majority of the discussants maintained that it is well nigh impossible for the forest department to protect and conserve the reserve forest with the existing infrastructure.

Meeting sources said Ministry of Environment and Forest (Mef) Secretary Syed Tanbir Hossain first tabled the proposal to form a separate authority for the Sundarbans comprising representatives of all the stakeholders to ensure conservation of its bio-diversity.

The minister seconded the secretary’s scheme and asked all quarters concerned to ponder and suggest specific ways for forming such a separate command.

Talking to The Daily Star, Tariqul said, “We must go deep into the existing problems in the Sundarbans, as there are some 21 sections of stakeholders depending on this forest for their livelihood and income. To conserve its bio-diversity, we need to resolve the stakeholders’ problems first.”

The minister said if the current problems are let to continue for long the forest at some point is sure to be destroyed. “So, we are planning for alternative employment for the stakeholders whose livelihood depends on this forest,” Tariqul who hails from a district close to the Sundarbans announced.

“Whatever we introduce — micro-credit or VGF — for the stakeholders dependent on the Sundarbans, we have to ensure that it goes to the genuine recipients,” he added.

The forest minister said the bio-diversity conservation project the ADB had launched was suspended due to management complications and conflicts. “We are now trying to resume the project. But, this time we want to reform the infrastructure and rearrange the management system first, to assure a proper project implementation.”

Meeting sources said the ADB-funded SBCP was aimed at safeguarding the mangrove forest’s environmental integrity and bio-diversity; but before being suspended around 30 percent of the US$ 77-million project fund was spent with almost zero achievement.

Citing his experience during project work, an SBCP consultant said, though the project caused losses for the forest department, poor stakeholders and laymen in the Sundarbans, a section of government officials, forest robbers and influential locals have gained a lot from it.

Sketching the current state of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest, the consultant said it is decaying, and the situation will further aggravate if the local stakeholders’ dependence on it for their livelihood continues.

According to meeting sources, the Mef secretary, while narrating his surprise visit to a project site, said he found the project accountant did not know even how to prepare a balance sheet.

The project director however laid the blame for the project’s suspension on foreign consultants, saying they had always given false impressions about the rate of project implementation.

Prof Ainun Nishat of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), who was present at the meeting, told The Daily Star that the government at present is redesigning the suspended SBCP. To him the government moves appear to be very positive, as “it wants to replace the existing policy of resource mobilisation from the Sundarbans with a more pro-bio-diversity policy.”

“There is no alternative to building separate infrastructure and management for conserving the Sundarbans’ bio-diversity, as it is not possible with the existing ones,” Ainun said.

He said the current mandate of the forest department is to enhance revenue collection from all forests, including the Sundarbans; but the meeting has decided to change this policy and make it pro-conservation.

On suspension of the $77-million ADB project, Ainun said there were objections from both the government and the donor sides against different aspects of the SBCP. The forest department, local NGOs and various stakeholders also complained that the project design was faulty.

The yesterday’s meeting has asked the project consultants to work out a conservation-oriented management system for the Sundarbans that would be able to address its problems adequately.

From: Zakir Kibria

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JOINT MEETING TO PROTECT WILDLIFE

Plan to lay pipeline in Lowachhara protested
NewAge, June 1, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh
www.newagebd.com

A Bangladesh-India joint team of wildlife conservationists on Monday expressed their anxiety at the decision of the laying of a gas pipeline by oil giant Unocal through the Lowachhara National Park at Srimangal in Sylhet.
The team urged the government to stop such a venture because of its adverse ecological impact, said a press release of the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, a joint meeting of the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh and the Wildlife Trust of India on Sunday vowed to work together in order to protect the wildlife and their habitats.
The meeting discussed protection of wildlife, conservation of the bio-diversity of the world�s largest mangrove forest Sundarban, human resource development for wildlife conservation, capacity building of the forest department people, bringing out publications on wildlife conservation issues, etc.
The participants decided to meet once a year to exchange views and share their experiences in the field of wildlife conservation.
A delegation of the conservationists met high officials of the forest department and expressed their willingness to work for wildlife conservation. They also met Environment and Forest Secretary Syed Tanveer Hussain.
During their meet, they applauded the government for formation of a wildlife conservation cell in the ministry.

From: Zakir Kibria

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Project: Sustainable Harvesting Campaign for Sundarban Stakeholders

The Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation (CCEC), a local level environmental NGO based at Khulna, Bangladesh has launched a project titled
“Sustainable Harvesting Campaign for Sundarban Stakeholders” for the period of May 2004- April 2005 in cooperation with the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF), Japan.

The aims and objectives of the project is to motivate the Sundarban stakeholders such as BOUALI (wood and thatch cutter), MOUALI (honey extractor), JALLEY (fisherman) and KAKRA DHARAWALI (crab harvester) for sustainable practicing in harvesting Sundarban resources i.e. wood (goran), golpata, shrimp, crab, honey and stopping unsustainable harvesting methods such as practicing samboose chemical (that enhances hyperactivity of the fish and the fish floats while using in the canal) in fishing, cutting down the central leaf of thatch (Nypa fruticans) by the non-professional wood/thatch cutter, setting traps for deer killing, use of strong poison within food for tiger killing by the poachers/hunters, killing of lizards by the crab collectors and collection of shrimp fry in the coastal belt of sea and estuary is not only violating the government regulations but also causing deaths of other larvae of fish and shrimp species as by catch.

The programme will educate and train 200 Sundarban stakeholders through public campaign and awareness raising, which in turn lead them to protect the endangered Sundarban following occupational ethics in harvesting resources. . An advisory board comprises members from Khulna University, Forest Department (FD) and Department of Fisheries (DoF) will provide
technical inputs and facilitate the counselling process between CCEC and FD. for the programme. Besides stakeholder group formation and finding alternative livelihood or income generation activities, the CCEC will
organize counseling meeting with Forest Department in order to increase the facilities of the stakeholders.

From: “CCEC, KHULNA,BANGLADESH” ccec_bd@khulna.bangla.net

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Biosphere in peril

… and what is responsible is a corporate project that has all the ingredients of a modern day tourism blockbuster, and one that could well sound the death knell of this unique ecosystem, says PANKAJ SEKHSARIA.

PARTH SANYAL

How long will it remain a picture of tranquillity?

IT cannot get bigger, more ambitious or expensive than this. At least that is how it is being projected.

The location is the famous Sunderbans in the State of West Bengal. The largest delta and mangrove forest in the world, the Sunderbans is spread over 10,000 sq.km in India and Bangadesh. Of this roughly 4,000 sq.km lies within Indian boundaries and roughly 2,500 sq.km is being conserved at the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve.

The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is home to the largest contiguous population of the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. It also plays host to 50 of the 60 mangrove species found in India, hundreds of species of migratory birds, and a wide range of biological diversity. The sea and the creeks support significant populations of marine life including crustaceans, molluscs, crabs, dolphins, and sea turtles that nest on some of the beaches here. It is an extremely rich and productive eco-system that supports millions of families and livelihoods. Thanks to its uniqueness and importance it has been declared a “World Heritage Site” and was also made a biosphere reserve in 1989.

The “It” (in paragraph one) is the over Rs. 500 crores Sunderbans Tourism Project, which itself is a part of the Sahara India Pariwar’s huge Integrated Sahara Tourism Circuit In West Bengal. The Air Sahara website presents as rosy a picture as is possible. “The Sahara Group”, the website says, “will develop five virgin islands in the 36,000 sq.km of water area in the Sunderbans … as tourist destinations of global standing … these islands would set new standards in hospitality and entertainment. Some of the facilities planned for this dream destination are: modern aqua sports, a mini golf course, a spa, a health centre, a club house and a casino. About 75 per cent of the accommodation would be on floating boat houses and 25 per cent as on-shore cottages, stylish huts and fabulous tents. The exclusive, beautiful virgin beaches of the region would be preserved in their pristine glory. The complex would also have a 30-seater, multi-utility high-speed power craft for a floating clinic, a fire fighting unit, an ultra modern security system and both small and big ships. All cottages and house boats would be equipped with broadband internet facilities, video on demand with interactive dish antenna”. (Also check SAHARA INDIA PARIWAR WEBSITE and SAHARA HOUSING WEBSITE)

“Virgin” islands and beaches of “pristine glory”, a project with “global standing”, dream destination, floating boat houses, and a casino. Throw in a tiger breeding centre (it’s been advertised) and even scuba diving facilities … and you have it all perfectly laid out � a modern tourism (it’s also being pushed as eco-tourism) blockbuster if there was one.

Importantly, this time, even the “Leftist” State Government is playing ball. It is the vital signal that West Bengal is coming of age, that this is a State that welcomes large projects and large money and that the right climate for investment and growth has been created. It is only one in a slew of many mega projects of various kinds that the State is welcoming with gusto.

In January 2004, the West Bengal Government and the Sahara group signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the project as well. It will be a joint venture with the State making available about 750 acres of land on the islands of the Lower Long Sand Island, Sagar, Frasergunj, L- Plot, Jharkhali and Kaikhali for a paltry sum of only Rs. 20 crores. The responsibility of developing and running the initiative would be that of Sahara India Pariwar’s sub-agency � the Sahara India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.

If all seems in place then what is the problem?

Simply, that a project with this investment and ambition, could well sound the death knell of the extremely fragile and unique Sunderbans. It will kill the golden goose, the very ecosystem that makes it such an attractive tourism proposition in the first place. The impunity with which environmental and social concerns have been neglected in the planning of this project could certainly be called spectacular, if indeed they were not so serious and “deadly”. There is violation on every single front, as was found by a team of independent observers who investigated the project area in March this year. This included among others, representatives of People United for Better Living In Calcutta (PUBLIC), Kolkata; Bombay Environment Action Group (BEAG), Mumbai, and the Bangalore-based EQUATIONS that works on issues related to tourism.

“It is important to remember,” says Samir Mehta of BEAG, “that the entire Sunderbans, including all the project sites, has been notified as a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) I region.” It is an acknowledgment of the fact that this is an extremely sensitive zone and any activity has to be initiated with care and concern. None of this is, however, evident in any of the project documents of the promoters. “First and probably most important,” he points out, “is the violation of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA) � 1986. As per the Memorandum of Agreement, what we have is only a Rapid EIA and this,” he stresses, “is nowhere sufficient or comprehensive enough to deal with a project this size.” Further, the West Bengal Coastal Zone Management Authority (WBCZMA) has not yet prepared the Area Specific Management Plan and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Sunderbans, as mandated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Unless these are available, there is no basis for such a project being cleared. Yet, the State Government’s expert committee on Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) is said to have cleared the project.

There are a number of laws that the project and government authorities are either ignorant of, or are deliberately violating. Both, of course, are inexcusable.

The project proposes a number of activities that are strictly prohibited in CRZ I areas. These include dredging in creeks and water bodies and the use of coastal salt marsh for developmental activities during the construction phase. Nothing is known of the plans for the disposal of waste and sewage; neither of those to deal with the inevitable oil, grease and other forms of pollution resulting from the operation of the boats, barges and floatels.

There is serious concern being expressed about availability of fresh water, which is already a problem in this marshy and saline region. Presently available only at a depth of about 1,000 feet, many are worried that the huge requirements of the project will only worsen the situation for the environment in general and the local populace in particular. One such large requirement is for a mini golf course at L-Plot.

… displacement and restrictions on fishing are likely.

There have been serious problems with the public hearing process that is mandated for projects of this kind. This was pointed out by Bonani Kakkar of PUBLIC, after participation in the hearing that was held on January 28, 2004, at Ramganga in the 24 Parganas district. While the project is multi-locational, the public hearing was held in only one place.

In a letter written to the West Bengal State Pollution Control Board, the agency responsible for the public hearings, PUBLIC also pointed out that the average time required for people to travel from places like Jharkhali, L-Plot and Kaikhali to the site of public hearing was about five hours one way, and that most people in these locations had not even heard of the public hearing. “This is not surprising,” the letter continues, “considering that two small advertisements were placed in newspapers � and the print medium is hardly read in these areas”. (Sahara, on the other hand often releases three to four full pages in leading newspapers for their own advertisements).

“There is also the crucial issue of forest lands and those being protected here in the interest of wildlife,” points out Syed Liyakhat of EQUATIONS. Certain critical parts of land and forests to be developed for the project are already designated as reserve forests under the Indian Forest Act (IFA) � 1927, and will need special permission for dereservation.

These have not been sought. Further all the project sites, with the exception of Gangasagar, are within a distance of 10 km from the boundaries of the Lothian and the Sajnekhali wildlife sanctuaries or a wildlife corridor. The Indian Board for Wildlife, that is chaired by the Prime Minister, had taken a decision in January 2002 that all areas within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries and the wildlife corridors would be declared as eco-sensitive under the Environment (Protection) Act � 1986.

“State governments had even been asked to list out such areas and furnish detailed proposals for their notification. How then,” questions Liyakhat, “can the project be allowed to go ahead in this context? The problem with tourism development,” he continues, “is that Governments and tourism developers have always overlooked environmental concerns and tried corrective measures only when the damage has already been done. In the case of the Sunderbans, however, there is too much at stake vis-�-vis the ecosystem and natural resources to repeat the mistake. We should also not forget that the Sunderbans extends into Bangladesh as well and any attempt on the Indian side to upset the already stressed fragile ecosystem,” he warns, “could have serious international and political implications.”

In another significant move, it has apparently been decided that fishermen will not be allowed to fish in areas where Sahara has its project or the creeks where their boats will ply. Presumably, they want their “virgin” beaches and islands. It’s also become clear that this project will not only harm the environment but also adversely affect the local population, by direct displacement and by the restrictions on their fishing activities. Another area of controversy that has now arisen is to do with a directive that no other tourism operator will be allowed into the Sunderbans without the permission of Sahara. Some competition that would be!

THERE has been international concern too. The London based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) recently issued a briefing note challenging Sahara’s claims that this was an ecotourism project (www.eia-international.org). They have pointed out that the project does not adhere to; rather clearly violates basic principles like those of ensuring conservation, environmental sustainability, involvement and benefits to the local communities and ensuring cultural respect; principles that guide and define an eco-tourism project.

All put together, it’s not clear how the project can go ahead at all . It has all the potential for an environmental disaster. “The earlier experience of the Sahara group in creating the Amby Valley Lake city near Lonavla in Maharashtra does not inspire any confidence either,” says Mehta. He should know, for it was BEAG that had highlighted the serious environmental problems and many of Sahara’s legal wrong doings here. There are even serious doubts about its economic viability if the marketing, rather the lack of its success, in Amby Valley is anything to go by.

The Sunderbans, it appears, can certainly do without this Sahara.

Pankaj Sekhsaria is a member of the environmental action group Kalpavriksh.

(c) Copyright 2000 – 2004 The Hindu

From: Zakir Kibria

—————————————–

Shrimp industry being ruined for toll
Producers winding up business

THE DAILY STAR

Foreign exchange earning shrimp industry in Khulna and Bagerhat is being ruined by outlaws and ruling party activists for toll.

Many shrimp farm owners are thinking to wind up business due to sharp rise in incidents of bomb attack, death threat and poisoning of shrimps for refusing toll, said Chand Farazi, chairman of Lockpur Fish and Executive Committee member of Khulna Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Some have shifted heir offices and families to Dhaka following death threats. A prominent shrimp exporter who has two processing factories in Khulna and Bagerhat has shifted his office to Dhaka, he told this correspondent on Sunday.

Sources in Khulna unit of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA), talking to this correspondent also expressed grave concern over the onslaught on the shrimp industry. They declined to be named.

In the last two weeks, shrimps worth over Tk one crore 50 lakh in 16 farms were poisoned to death as their owners refused to pay toll, BFFEA sources said. But none of them filed any case with police fearing reprisal, they said.

A good number of farms have been forcibly occupied by the terrorists.

“We have been finished as shrimps worth several crores of taka have been destroyed. Death threats hang on us”, said another owner seeking anonymity.

Shrimp traders are also not safe. Several incidents of looting of shrimps from vehicles took place in different areas of the two districts, said sources in the Shrimp Traders Association.

An attempt to kill shrimp exporter SM Amjad Hossain was foiled by his private security guards in the early hours of Friday.

According to police and locals, six armed miscreants in a white microbus went to his house at Lockpur village under Fakirhat upazilla at 3:30 am.

They fled away when security guards opened fire, police said. Amjad Hossain, Managing Director of Lockpur Fish Processing Ltd at Rupsha and Bagerht Sea Foods at Fakirhat, was staying at a rest house at Paikpara in Bagerht Sadar on that night.

According to Amjd Hossain, his shrimp farm at Fakirhat upazilla came under bomb attack at about midnight on June 6.

Amjad Hossain’s younger brother, shrimp exporter SM Farhad Hossain, was gunned down by extremists on October 20 in 2001 at Kata Khali in Fakirhat. The case is now under trial in Khulna Speedy Trial Tribunal.

Wife of Slain Farhad is now facing threat for being complainant in her husband’s murder.

“I also received several death threats for helping police to investigate the murder case”, Amjad said.

Shrimp exporters of Khulna and Bagerhat have expressed deep concern at the incidents of bomb attack and threat during the ongoing peak season.

They said outlaws and ruling party activists sheltered by a section of corrupt police officials are involved in these incidents for refusing toll and protesting forcible occupation of some enclosures, said an official of BFFEA.

Killing of shrimps by poisoning in different enclosures increased this year, he said seeking anonymity fearing reprisal from outlaws.

On June 8, nine alleged outlaws were caught while they were going away after pouring poison into water of four enclosures at Golapdah village under Dumuria upazila. Shrimps worth over Tk 15 lakh were destroyed.

On the same day, shrimps worth over Tk 5 lakh were killed in the same manner in a farm at Lockpur village, owned by one Abul Hossain.

On June 7, poison was poured into a farm at Tapubling village in Jessore, killing shrimps worth over Tk 10 lakh.

Outlaws killed shrimps worth over Tk 20 lakh in seven enclosures at Jhilerdange village in Dumuria upazilla on June 1.

When asked, Khulna Police Superintendent Habibur Rahman said none of shrimp farm owners has filed any case.

From: Zakir Kibria

—————————————–

Shrimp export could see five-fold rise by 2008
Speakers tell IUCN dialogue seeking govt support
Star Business Report

THE DAILY STAR

Shrimp export could fetch Tk 10,000 crore annually, a five-fold rise from Tk 2,000 crore at present, by 2008 if the government takes certain supportive measures, speakers told a national dialogue in Dhaka yesterday.

They suggested measures such as allocation of one lakh hectares of new land for shrimp farming, pumping in fresh investment in this sector, quality control in shrimp production and compliance of international rules.

IUCN, the World Conservation Union, organised the dialogue on ‘Standard-Compliant Production and Procession Options for Sustainable Shrimp Sector in Bangladesh’ at its office at the IDB Bhaban.

The discussants called for quality control to help sustain the country’s second largest source of foreign exchange after readymade garments. To this effect, they urged shrimp farmers, processors and exporters to adopt WTO-prescribed sanitary rules.

Speaking at the dialogue, Commerce Minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury said the government would provide all out support for frozen food sector.

“Money is no problem,” he assured the shrimp industry stakeholders, saying “If you can find ways how the country could earn more foreign exchange, the government is ready to give you financial and other necessary supports.”

Mahmudul Hossain, secretary general of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) in his presentation on shrimp industry said shrimp export could fetch Tk 10,000 crore annually by 2008 if the government extends necessary supports.

The commerce minister and other discussants agreed with the comment.

Ainun Nishat, country representative of IUCN, said shrimp industry people need to understand the standardisation process and increase interaction among the stakeholders for a socially responsible and environmentally sound shrimp industry.

Professor AK Enamul Haque of North South University in his keynote paper stressed the need for a social and corporate responsibility and recommended policy actions for environmental and social sustainability of the industry.

Quazi Monirul Hauque, president of BFFEA emphasised building up a monitoring mechanism for ensuring transparency at the farm level and at the supply chain.

Aftabuzzaman, president of National Shrimp Farmers’ Association, however said without the help from the higher level, it will not be possible to comply with the stringent international standards and increase access in the international market.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

—————————————–

Govt hatchery raises hope among shrimp farmers
Distribution from Patuakhali hatchery starts: 40 lakh fries to be produced annually

THE DAILY STAR

A government shrimp fry production project in the district, set up with assistance from DANIDA, has raised great hopes among shrimp farmers in the southern districts.

A large number of fish farmers from far away areas like Bhola and Barguna gathered at the district headquarter for shrimp fries when the distribution began on June 13. Patuakhali Deputy Commissioner Prasanta Bhusan Barua inaugurated the distribution while Project Director Wahidunnabi Chowdhury, Project Advisor Aril HJ Quize and other officials were present.

Distribution of shrimp fries from the hatchery began this year for the first time.

In the first phase, about 10 lakh shrimp fries have been produced. More 30 lakh fries will be produced this year in the second and third phase, project officials said.

The lone hatchery for Patuakhali, Bhola and Barguna districts has been set up under the Patuakhali Barguna Aquaculture Extention Project (PBAEP). This is the largest hatchery in the country.

About 40 lakh fries will be produced and distributed among shrimp farmers in the area every year, they said.

About 2500 shrimp enclosures have been set up in the three districts and more 6000 are in the offing, depending on fries to be produced in the hatchery, they said.

At least 150 tonnes of shrimp worth about Tk eight crore will be produced in the enclosures, they said.

Talking to this correspondent, Ramjan Ali, who came from Bhola for fries said he has set up a farm at his village. He will prefer fries from this farm becaiuse he thinks those will be better in quality, said. Many others in his village will be interested in shrimp cultivation if he becomes successful, he said.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

LATIN AMERICA
Ecuador
A CALL FOR GLOBAL ACTION ON JULY 26th, THE DAY OF THE MANGROVES!: MAP wishes to lend our full support to the plans and actions presented here by FUNDECOL in their recent call for Global Action on July 26th, 2004. We ask that you and/ or your organizations please join us all in a global protest against the ongoing incarceration of the mangrove forest ecosystems and the local communities that depend upon the mangroves for their lives and livelihoods. Please send us your regional or local plans for actions that are meant to commemorate this international Day for the Mangroves! We would like to again share your plans and ideas with our international network. We look forward to hearing from you soon in this regards! (The Editor)
=======

Campaign 26th of July,
Day of the Defense of the Mangroves

“FREEDOM FOR THE MANGROVES”
Kidnapped mangroves by shrimp farms

Partners,

We are about to celebrate once more the 26th of July, Day of the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem. As last year, we wish that this day will be commemorated in the international, regional and national levels.

- “Freedom for the Mangroves”

Freedom for the mangroves is a symbolic name that urges to “liberate” the mangroves that are illegally destroyed and suffocated by the dams of the shrimp ponds that forbid the natural exchange of brackish and fresh waters.
Freedom for the mangroves jailed by industrial shrimp infrastructure that bans their normal development and exchange of energy, and finally
Freedom for the areas that have been destroyed and need to be reestablished to their original ecosystem.

Under the slogan “Freedom for the Mangroves”, this year 2004′s campaign that commemorates the 26th of July, is committed to strengthen the local organizational processes and to generate favorable public opinion for the defense and community management of the mangroves. It is also dedicated to the development of alliances with organizations and institutions in the regional and international level to accomplish the mission of recovery, protection and conservation of this very valuable natural resource, especially through the reversion of the illegal and abandoned shrimp ponds to their original mangrove ecosystem.

Actions that will take place

In Ecuador the following activities will take place during the campaign “Freedom for the Mangroves”:

On the 26th of July, a national event will take place in the city of Bahia de Caraquez. A massive demonstration of the traditional users of the mangrove ecosystem of the entire Ecuadorian coast will happen in support to this province, which is the most devastated region of the country because of the effects of the indiscriminate destruction of the mangroves due to the construction of infrastructure for the industrial shrimp aquaculture and other industrial activities such as industrial tourism.

The big celebration during the Day of the Mangroves will gather ancestral users of the mangroves of the entire Ecuadorian coast in Bahia de Caraquez as well as the local and national mass media. During this day, the following activities will take place:

- A national festival for the mangroves with:
– A mangrove forum
– Artistic and cultural presentations from each province
– Stands from the different organizations
– Promotion of the community management of the mangroves

- Reforestation of mangroves in an abandoned shrimp pond located near Bahia de Caraquez. This will count with the community participation of the traditional users of the mangrove ecosystem from the entire Ecuadorian coast and the attendance of the local, regional and national mass media.
During this happening the slogan of this year’s campaign “Freedom for the mangroves” will guide strictly the activities by giving back the life to an incarcerated mangrove forest jailed by the disordered industrial shrimp aquaculture.

In the previous days, in each of the provinces will take place community celebrations that will involve: cultural, artistic and sport activities, local festivals and forums around the mangroves. Moreover, with the community participation and the support of students from schools and universities massive reforestations of mangroves will occur.

At the same time, during the 25th and 30th of July, we will attend the Social Forum of the Americas that will take place in the city of Quito, and we will insert the issue of the mangroves during this event.

We invite you to incorporate to this year’s festival of the 26th of July by proposing activities and actions in the different counties for the “Freeedom of the Mangroves”.

Yours truly,

Lider Gongora F.
President C-Condem
costamanglar@hotmail.com

Executive Secretary Redmanglar
redmanglar@redmanglar.org

===============================================

Brazil

Environment Day For Brazil’s “Sea Perople”

Mob. Povos do Mar (June 4th, 2004)
The activities during Environment Day 2004 were an example of the dedication of the people of Povos do Mar (Sea People) for the SOS Coastal Zone movement. More then 700 people from the fishing communities participated and a public hearing for the GT shrimp farming was held on the 4th, at the Castelo Branco Federal University of Ceara. A comic strip-manual was launched: “The Adventures of Pistolinha, the Brazilian shrimp, against the shrimp farm fever and the champion of mangroves”. During the afternoon a demonstration was held and a round of meetings with IBAMA, the Justice Department and the Environment Ministry was organized. A series of documents, such as the DHESC Report on shrimp farming, tourism and fishery, was delivered to the all the institutions that took part in the event. xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /
The following agreements were achieved:
1 – Establishment of a task force by the Justice Department to deal with the issue of illegal fishing;
2 – Inspection of the shrimp farms designated by the communities, in a joint action by SEMACE and IBAMA;
3 – A coastal management law, that will undergo public consultancy and should be approved by the State Legislative Assembly;
4 – Environment Economic Zoning, that should also go through an approval process by the communities;
5 – Solution to the Caponga boat problem (repair the motor and give it back to the community);
6 – Intensify inspection against dragnet fishing in the Taba and neighboring regions;
7 – A commitment from the Justice Department to become more active in the real estate speculation and the problems related to public safety and violence in the beaches.
These were the commitments achieved during the meetings.

From: “Soraya Vanini Tupinamba”

=============================

Honduras

Award for Misconduct in Ramsar Site Questioned!

Note: The President of Honduras, himself a former shrimp farm owner, has just awarded a major shrimp farm business in Honduras a prestigious award. The award commends their so-called “environmental record” for their shrimp industry venture, which itself has illicitly encroached upon the 1000th Ramsar site, inflicting damage to the area’s mangrove wetlands via new shrimp farm expansion within this Ramsar site. According to Jorge Varela of CODDEFFAGOLF in Tegucigulpa:

“The President of Honduras, Ricardo Maduro, of the “GRUPO GRANJAS MARINAS SAN BERNARDO: gave the NATIONAL PRIZE OF ENVIRONMENT to the shrimp company “GRUPO GRANJAS MARINAS SAN BERNARDO” (What a coincidence!)”

From: “Coddeffagolf” cgolf@coddeffagolf.net

==============================================

Bay Islands Threatened By Tourism Development

The beautiful Bay Islands of Honduras are experiencing an accelerating rate of mangrove destruction, threatening the region’s coastal health and vitality. Unique coral reefs and sea grass beds are being affected, and an amazing natural mangrove habitat may be lost to concrete and mortar for tourist hotels and shopping malls.

More news on this latest “development” will be forthcoming!

==========================

Mexico

Workers spill tar into protected Mexican mangrove, coral reserve
Friday, June 18, 2004
By Associated Press
CANCUN, Mexico – Roughly 2,000 liters (500 gallons) of tar spilled into a mangrove swamp in a coral beach preserve on the island of Cozumel, officials said Thursday.

The spill occurred Monday as workers were trying to repair drains damaged in heavy rains that drove thousands of people from their homes on the Caribbean island, which is popular with tourists.

Carlos Rafael Munoz, local representative for the federal environmental prosecutor’s office, said Thursday the tar had contaminated an area about 280 by 80 meters (310 by 90 yards) at the Cozumel Reefs National Park.

“When it comes into contact with the sun, it solidifies, which makes it more complicated to remove,” he said.

Officials said they were investigating at least four workers suspected of letting the material escape into the water from a tank truck, and criminal charges were being considered.

Miguel Rivero, identified by police as the foreman on the job, filed a police report saying the spill was caused by thieves attempting to steal the tar.
Source: Associated Press

From: Elaine Corets manglar@comcast.net

NORTH AMERICA
USA

16 Jun 2004

Texas Officials Quarantine 4 Shrimp Farms

.c The Associated Press

HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) – Four Texas shrimp farms have been quarantined to prevent a shrimp virus from entering the Gulf of Mexico and infecting wild shrimp, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Known as the Taura Syndrome, the virus is not a threat to people but is deadly to shrimp. An outbreak could wipe out an entire crop of shrimp.

Seventy percent of the nation’s shrimp farms are in Texas, the nation’s leading shrimp producer. The bulk of those farms are in the Rio Grande Valley.

The virus is believed to have originated in Pacific coast shrimp farms in South America in the early 1990s. By 1992, it had cost Ecuadorean shrimp producers $100 million. By 1995, it had spread through Central America and Mexico and had infected more than 80 percent of the shrimp farms in Texas, with the state’s producers reporting some $12 million in losses.

The shrimp farms reported the virus to Parks and Wildlife last week, and the quarantine was imposed Thursday.

The virus has never been found in wild shrimp, said Mike Ray, a biologist with the parks and wildlife agency.

Shrimp farmers mostly raise Pacific white shrimp, which adapt better than Gulf species to the shrimp ponds. The exotic species are crossed with special “disease-free” strains to help prevent outbreaks.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

—————————————–

U.S. Shift on Organic Rules Proved Costly

Sat May 29, 4:48 PM ET Add Business – Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Samuel Fromartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bart Reid had been struggling hard to keep his West Texas shrimp farm afloat since April, when U.S. regulators relaxed the rules covering organic food.

Reid was suffering because the rules under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (news – web sites)’s National Organic Program were altered, taking seafood out of the program.

It meant he couldn’t label his Permian Sea Shrimp product “USDA organic,” which prompted retailers to cancel purchases.

That, in turn, scared off investors interested in his business – the first organic shrimp farm in the rapidly expanding $11 billion U.S. market for organic foods.

But Reid and the organic industry won a reprieve on Wednesday, when Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman rescinded the April rule changes made by the National Organic Program.

And, that means Reid will be able to use the USDA label after all. “It may be too late, but at least it will give us a ray of hope,” said Reid, speaking by telephone from Imperial, Texas.

The April ruling that Veneman reversed had removed a number of industries — including personal-care products, dietary supplements, and pet foods– from the organic program’s purview.

“Everybody who was looking to do business with me ran like cockroaches under a spotlight,” Reid said, when the April rule change was made.

His friends, family and lenders had chipped in to invest $1 million in his business.

CONTROVERSIAL RULINGS

The ruling was one of several the USDA issued in April, raising alarm among consumer groups and the organic industry, which expressed concern that the rulings diluted “organic” standards.

Before Veneman’s decision, the USDA had said the changes were only interpretations of existing regulations.

What also had organic proponents up in arms was that the USDA issued the rulings by fiat, rather than in consultation with the National Organic Standards Board, an advisory panel of industry, consumer, farmer and environmental representatives.

Veneman directed the department’s National Organic Program to revisit the issue with input from the board and the public.

Reid said he had worked for two years to make sure his own practices met the standards of the organic law.

He avoided chemicals and antibiotics, did not crowd his pens and fed the shrimp organic feed — all in line with U.S. regulations. Marty Mesh, executive director of Florida Organic Growers in Gainesville, Florida, said his U.S-accredited group certified the shrimp “USDA organic” because Reid followed the rules.

Reid thought this label might help his products compete with foreign shrimp flooding into the United States from Asia and South America.

He said he could charge $5 a pound wholesale for the organic shrimp, compared with $2 for conventional shrimp.

Consumers have been willing to pay a premium for organic products to avoid chemicals in conventional food production.

If aquaculture were to be placed outside of the U.S. program — as the USDA ruled in April — any producer could have labeled its fish “organic” without having to follow any regulations.

The same would also have been true for makers of pet food, supplements and personal care products, rendering the organic label meaningless in those segments.

Although it’s unclear whether those industries will permanently be part of the USDA Organic program, at least now the producers have a chance to be heard.

ORGANIC FISH FUTURE?

The NOSB advisory panel approved recommendations for organic aquaculture in 2001, but the USDA never acted upon them — in part, observers say, because they were contentious.

Recently, the USDA suggested forming another working group to develop organic standards for aquaculture.

This may have been prompted by competition.

European countries already certify organic fish and could capture the Bulk of the developing global market, especially in big seafood-consumer countries like Japan.

“Chile is also moving very fast,” said Richard Nelson, vice president of Nelson & Sons Inc., a fish food company in Murray, Utah, participatin in the new organic working group. “They will have an organic salmon product, probably in six months.”

Until the USDA comes up with new rules — perhaps in two years — Reid will be able to sell his product under the USDA Organic label, barring other action from the department.

But the reprieve might be too late.
“I’m in dire straits,” he said.

From: bgoldburg@environmentaldefense.org

STORIES/ISSUES
New Evidence of Impact of Global Changes on Remote Tropical Rain Forests

- Studies by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical ResearchInstitute (STRI) and colleagues published three articles in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B – Biological Sciences, in a themed
issue entitled “Tropical Forests and Global Atmospheric Change.”

ARTICLE

Studies by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and colleagues published three articles in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B – Biological Sciences, in a themed issue entitled “Tropical Forests and Global Atmospheric Change.” The issue shows that the rates of growth and death of trees in pristine forests across the Amazon have almost doubled in recent decades, and appear to have led to an increase in biomass. It also reports that the tropical forests globally have warmed by half of a degree in the last 20 years, and warn that forest temperatures are expected to rise by a further three to eight degrees by the end of the century, with dangerous implications for the forests, climate
change, and human welfare. The scientists note that the most likely causes of these changes are increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and surface air temperatures, and possible continent-wide changes in sunshine.

Although the increase in biomass may have helped to slow the rate of global climate change so far by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), a number of computer model simulations presented in the issue suggest that the combined effects of deforestation and global warming could reverse the process, making rain forests sources of CO2 by as early as the next two decades. Also, while some
rain forests are increasing in biomass, others appear to be already breaking up under a combination of climatic and human pressures. The scientists demonstrate that the combination of climate change and the fragmentation of
rain forest settlement is opening up the remaining forestand making it increasingly vulnerable to fires, which are causing significant declines in large fruit-eating monkeys and insect-eating birds.

All contributing scientists agree that there is an urgent need for conservation action to prevent further fragmentation and to create forest corridors to give some species a chance of moving as the climate changes.
Ultimately, saving the world’s remaining rain forests will also require a
committed effort to move away from burning fossil fuels. Yadvinder Malhi, a co-editor, concludes: “This research shows that conservation of the remaining rain forests will need to take into account the new pressures that global
atmospheric change is placing on these forests. In the 21st century, we are moving into a human-made atmospheric and climatic situation that has not been experienced on Earth for at least 20 million years. We are deeply concerned with how the Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems will respond to these changes.”

From: elaine@nnrg.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS
‘Farming the Sea, Costing the Earth’ Report Out

‘Farming the Sea, Costing the Earth’, EJF’s report on the environmental impacts of shrimp aquaculture. This report has now been launched (see news release below) and is available online as a PDF.

From: “Annabelle Aish” annabelle.aish@ejfoundation.org

—————————————–

Ramsar Handbooks on Wise Use of Wetlands

The thoroughly revised edition of the famous Ramsar Handbooks on
Wise Use of Wetlands is ready in English. The Ramsar “Toolkit” was first published in 2000 (in boxed hardcover set and on CD-ROM by the United Nations University), nine handbooks that incorporated the guidance on the wise use of wetlands adopted by the Conference of the Parties through to COP7 in 1999 as well as a good deal of additional material, such as related Resolutions of the COP, case studies, illustrations, etc.

Now the 2nd edition of the Handbooks is ready in English, 14 volumes including the additional guidance from Ramsar COP8 in 2002 and revised versions of most of the previous volumes. Prepared by Sandra Hails and Nick Davidson over the past year and laid out by L’IV Communications of Morges, Switzerland, the full set will be published on CD-ROM in not too long a time, in PDF versions suitable for printing by all interested readers (and available in hardcopy in very limited quantities from the Secretariat) – all of the handbooks will also be available for download from the Ramsar Web site, and for starters the entire English version is now ready at RAMSAR.ORG. The French and
Spanish versions, too, are well progressed and will be added to the Web site as they are finalized. The translations, lay-out, and CD-ROM
publication have been generously funded by the General Directorate for Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment, Spain, as part of Spain’s support for Ramsar COP8 and the publication of its proceedings.

If I recall, we’ve already told you that the new edition of the chunky
little Ramsar Manual is also available at RAMSAR.ORG. Substitute “f” or “s” for that final “e” for French or Spanish versions.

From: Dwight Peck dpeck@iprolink.ch

—————————————–

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award
- for actions that have significantly contributed to long-term
conservation and sustainable use of wetlands

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was established in 1996 in order to recognise and honour the contributions of individuals, organisations, and governments around the world towards promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It was awarded for the first time at the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in 1999, and for the second time at the 8th Meeting, in 2002. The third awards will be conferred at the 9th COP, in Kampala, Uganda, November 2005. The 2005 Awards will be made in the three categories of management, science, and education, and
as in the past each will be accompanied by the Evian Special Prize of
US$ 10,000, courtesy of the Danone Group (France). Nominations should reach the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands by 31 October 2004 at the latest.

Further details and selection criteria,
Nomination form,
Ramsar Awards 1999,
Ramsar Awards 2002,

From: Dwight Peck dpeck@iprolink.ch

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES FOR WETLANDS, MIRES AND PEATLANDS IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

Reply-To: sea-peat@yahoogroups.com

The International Mire Conservation Group is hosting its bi-annual Congress (Scientific symposium, general assembly and field visits) in southern Africa from 10 – 26 September 2004.

The IMCG furthers the management, conservation and wise-use of mires and peatlands (and thus more than 50% of the worlds wetlands) globally.

We are hereby inviting you to participate in this exciting event in southern Africa with the theme:
Come an experience wetlands in Africa on the most exotic and wildest locations (including 5 Ramsar sites,the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park World Heritage Site and the Alpine mires of Lesotho) for two weeks at only Euro1100.

Piet-Louis Grundling
Technical Advisor – Central Region:
Working for Wetlands
National Botanical Institute
NBI e-mail address: pgrundling@nbi.ac.za
www.nbi.ac.za

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)

The Commons in an age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities Oaxaca, México, 9-13 August 2004
WEBSITE

The theme and title for the conference is “The Commons in an age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities. As such, IASCP 2004 seeks to
stimulate further discussion upon many of the themes that were raised during the 2002 conference in Zimbabwe, where “Globalisation was the central focus.

Ten sub-themes for the conference have been suggested below. The goal is to foster deeper discussions across all themes, including the analysis of institutional frameworks, the importance and influence of markets and public policy-making, and the interrelationships between policies and institutions at local, regional, national and international levels within the context of global transition.

Please note that broader papers covering topics that cut across more than one of the ten conference sub-themes are also welcome.

Sub-Themes

2.1 Indigenous Peoples and Common Resources.
2.2 Environmental Services and Common Resources.
2.3 Governance, Conflict and Institutional Reform
2.4 Conservation Policy and Commons Management.
2.5 Contemporary Analytical Tools and Theoretical Questions
2.6 The Impacts of Geographic Information Technologies and Environmental
Information on the Commons
2.7 Markets and Common Resources.
2.8 The New Global Commons.
2.9 Globalization, Culture, Identity and the Commons
2.10 Demographic Change and Commons Management

From: Alex de Sherbinin
adesherbinin@ciesin.columbia.edu

AQUACULTURE CORNER
New Press Release on The Salmon Farm Monitor: www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

“Salmon Farming,s “Foot-and-Mouth � Scotland,s Secret Disease Epidemic Exposed”

Includes:

Eight out of ten sea cage salmon farms are affected by a killer virus – Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) – sweeping across Scotland. IPN not only poses a risk to farmed salmon (with mortality rates of up to 80%) but IPN-infected farmed escapees could expose wild fish stocks to the killer virus with catastrophic effects.

Exclusive new information compiled by the SFPG names and shames those companies involved. The worst offenders are Marine Harvest, Scottish Sea Farms, Stolt and Lighthouse. Other companies include Landcatch, Loch Duart, Kinloch Damph, Western Isles Seafood Company, Kames, Orkney Sea Farms, Wester Ross, Lakeland, Aquascot, Shetland Norse, Johnson Sea Farms, Institute of Aquaculture Stirling, North Atlantic Fisheries College and Seafish Aquaculture.

IPN is now so prevalent that 82% of marine salmon farms in Scotland are affected (an increase from less than 30% in 1997 and 45% in 2000) compared to 26% of freshwater salmon farms. The worst hit areas are Shetland and Orkney (ca. 90% prevalence) and the Outer Hebrides (80%). Marine waters subject to disease restrictions in the last 12 months include Lochs Fyne, Eriboll, Roag, Ewe, Broom, Craignish, Sunart, Ainort, Seaforth, Portree, Alsh as well as the Sounds of Mull and Raasay. The Scottish Executive is planning to publish a full list of all farms affected � in the meantime view the latest figures now: www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

From: “Don Staniford”

—————————————–

BBC 2, The Money Programme: 9th June

For Cod’s Sake

Stocks of British cod have fallen to alarming levels, putting the fish and chip supper – once seen as Britain’s national dish – in severe danger. But now, one bold family of former fishermen from the Shetlands is trying to change all that by attempting to farm British cod commercially.

The Money Programme follows Karol Rzepkowski, Managing Director of Johnson’s Cod as he tries to persuade city investors to don wellies and waterproofs, travel up to the Shetlands and put money into the project.

Will there be a market for the fish? Can cod farming save the British fishing industry or could it prove as controversial as salmon farming? Karol and his team are in uncharted waters, but they know that they have to get to get this one right – for cod’s sake.

Link

From: “Don Staniford”

Additional papers are available at this site, and we are soliciting other papers for inclusion on the site for general availability.

Please respond to LESRRL3@AOL.COM ROBIN LEWIS

Late Friday News, 139th Ed., 27 May 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 139th Edition of the Late Friday News.

This newsletter is brought to you for free, but PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Contact: mangroveap@olympus.net

Also, Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!

Please consider helping MAP meet those demands for our presence at certain conferences and workshops whereby our greatest cost to attend important events is airfare, which too often holds us back from attending important fora where MAP’s presence should be felt.

Please donate your frequent flyer miles to MAP so we can be in the right place at the right time to present MAP’s needed voice at such fora where too often the grassroots voice for the local communities and for the mangroves is not heard.

If you wish to donate your frequent flyer miles, pleas contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net.

Your help in this important matter will be much appreciated!

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 139th Edition, 27 May 2004
FEATURE STORY
A CALL FOR GLOBAL ACTION ON JULY 26th, THE DAY OF THE MANGROVES!

MAP WORKS
IHOF #10 Successfully Held In Medan, Sumatra
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!
Work-Study Tour In Yucatan’s Mangroves
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

AFRICA
Nigeria
Coordinator and 6 others members arrested by Nigerian Army Personnel in Bakassi

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Indonesia
Indonesian Oil Palm Destroys Rainforests, Intimidates Communities

Burma
Burma: Forests for Export to China

S. ASIA

Bangladesh
The Sundarbans and coastal fisheries
Tree felling banned in Sundarban
Shrimp Seal of Quality news service

E. Asia

China
Soy beans Bolster China’s aquazculture Industry and US Growers

STORIES/ISSUES
Genetically modified trees cause memory loss
FAO Support for agricultural biotechnology in its State of Food and Agriculture 2003-2004 report Questioned
U.S. Ocean Commission Publishes Preliminary Report

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Ocean Day, June 8th

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Hatchery Salmon & Trout Health Risks

FEATURE STORY
A CALL FOR GLOBAL ACTION ON JULY 26th, THE DAY OF THE MANGROVES!: MAP wishes to lend our full support to the plans and actions presented here by FUNDECOL in their recent call for Global Action on July 26th, 2004. We ask that you and/ or your organizations please join us all in a global protest against the ongoing incarceration of the mangrove forest ecosystems and the local communities that depend upon the mangroves for their lives and livelihoods. Please send us your regional or local plans for actions that are meant to commemorate this international Day for the Mangroves! We would like to again share your plans and ideas with our international network. We look forward to hearing from you soon in this regards! (The Editor)
=======

Campaign 26th of July,
Day of the Defense of the Mangroves

“FREEDOM FOR THE MANGROVES”
Kidnapped mangroves by shrimp farms

Partners,

We are about to celebrate once more the 26th of July, Day of the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem. As last year, we wish that this day will be commemorated in the international, regional and national levels.

* “Freedom for the Mangroves”

Freedom for the mangroves is a symbolic name that urges to “liberate” the mangroves that are illegally destroyed and suffocated by the dams of the shrimp ponds that forbid the natural exchange of brackish and fresh waters.
Freedom for the mangroves jailed by industrial shrimp infrastructure that bans their normal development and exchange of energy, and finally
Freedom for the areas that have been destroyed and need to be reestablished to their original ecosystem.

Under the slogan “Freedom for the Mangroves”, this year 2004′s campaign that commemorates the 26th of July, is committed to strengthen the local organizational processes and to generate favorable public opinion for the defense and community management of the mangroves. It is also dedicated to the development of alliances with organizations and institutions in the regional and international level to accomplish the mission of recovery, protection and conservation of this very valuable natural resource, especially through the reversion of the illegal and abandoned shrimp ponds to their original mangrove ecosystem.

Actions that will take place

In Ecuador the following activities will take place during the campaign “Freedom for the Mangroves”:

On the 26th of July, a national event will take place in the city of Bahia de Caraquez. A massive demonstration of the traditional users of the mangrove ecosystem of the entire Ecuadorian coast will happen in support to this province, which is the most devastated region of the country because of the effects of the indiscriminate destruction of the mangroves due to the construction of infrastructure for the industrial shrimp aquaculture and other industrial activities such as industrial tourism.

The big celebration during the Day of the Mangroves will gather ancestral users of the mangroves of the entire Ecuadorian coast in Bahia de Caraquez as well as the local and national mass media. During this day, the following activities will take place:

* A national festival for the mangroves with:
o A mangrove forum
o Artistic and cultural presentations from each province
o Stands from the different organizations
o Promotion of the community management of the mangroves

* Reforestation of mangroves in an abandoned shrimp pond located near Bahia de Caraquez. This will count with the community participation of the traditional users of the mangrove ecosystem from the entire Ecuadorian coast and the attendance of the local, regional and national mass media.
During this happening the slogan of this year’s campaign “Freedom for the mangroves” will guide strictly the activities by giving back the life to an incarcerated mangrove forest jailed by the disordered industrial shrimp aquaculture.

In the previous days, in each of the provinces will take place community celebrations that will involve: cultural, artistic and sport activities, local festivals and forums around the mangroves. Moreover, with the community participation and the support of students from schools and universities massive reforestations of mangroves will occur.

At the same time, during the 25th and 30th of July, we will attend the Social Forum of the Americas that will take place in the city of Quito, and we will insert the issue of the mangroves during this event.

We invite you to incorporate to this year’s festival of the 26th of July by proposing activities and actions in the different counties for the “Freeedom of the Mangroves”.

Yours truly,

Lider Gongora F.
President C-Condem
costamanglar@hotmail.com

Executive Secretary Redmanglar
redmanglar@redmanglar.org

MAP WORKS
IHOF #10 Successfully Held In Medan, Sumatra

I arrived back here about 1:30 am this morning from Medan …… a very long tiring trip all in one day, but all Thai participants arrived in Trang safely and will be travelling back to their communities today. IHOF #10 generally went off very well with no major mishaps or problems. The new centre in village Kuala Indah is very well build and appropriate for a village IHOF meeting. Everyone sat on the floor which made the fishers feel at ease. Content & variety of the workshop was very good. Homestay was bit rough for participants as there were lots of mosquitoes & some houses had no washrooms so people did not sleep well. I was always totally exhausted so despite a thin woven mat on a concrete floor my sleep was not too bad. I’m sure Ben will give a full report once he is back…..today he was traveling to Penang by ferry for a few days break. This IHOF does show that an IHOF in the village is possible! Both JALA & P3MN did a great job in preparations & support throughout the workshop. Ben really put a lot of work into this workshop and did a great job facilitating. The 3 translators were excellent & made it all possible. With only two languages, things seemed to move much better without the long delays normally experienced with 3 or more languages.

More on IHOF #10 later.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”

——————————-

New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at: WEBSITE

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

——————————-

ANNOUNCEMENT: Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer andLewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com.

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp. (WEBSITE PDF)

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

=====
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

——————————-

Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!

Please consider helping MAP meet those demands for our presence at certain conferences and workshops whereby our greatest cost to attend important events is airfare, which too often holds us back from attending important fora where MAP’s presence should be felt.

Please donate your frequent flyer miles to MAP so we can be in the right place at the right time to present MAP’s needed voice at such fora where too often the grassroots voice for the local communities and for the mangroves is not heard.

If you wish to donate your frequent flyer miles, pleas contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net.

Your help in this important matter will be much appreciated!

——————————-

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. THIS WEBSITE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

——————————-

Work-Study Tour In Yucatan’s Mangroves

MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for Aug. 20-29, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

=====

Note: This year’s Spirit of Thailand tour has been postponed for lack of full enrollment. We will try again next year!

——————————-

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows threetimes. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

Date: 23rd May,2004
PRESS RELEASE( ABGREMO Programme

Coordinator and 6
others members arrested by Nigerian Army Personnel in
Bakassi

Am Environmental/ Human Rights activist Comrade Edem
Okom Edem who is also the Programme Coordinator/Founder of a non-governmental
organization; AKPABUYO BAKASSI GREEM (ABGREMO) and
six(6) other ABGREMO staff have been arrested and
detained by Nigerian Army personnel operating in
BAKASSI local government area of Cross River State,
Nigeria.

They were arrested in the morning hours of
Saturday(22/May/2004) while carrying out Community
Resource mapping and Time lime as a result of
Community need assessment of Archibong community of
Bakassi local government area in order to document the
needs of the community as well as strategising with
the community on ways of solving some of the
problems.

The Army personnel claimed Bakassi is a Nigerian Army
occupied territory as such maps of any kind should not
be drawn or brought in by any person or groups of
persons, in addition no cameras any kind should be
used within the territory.

Other members arrested/detained alongside with the
Coordinator were Efiom Duke(Secretary), Efiom
Emmanuel, Atim Effiomg, Christiana Okom, Teren
Effiomg, Archibomg Eso. Although, they have been transferred from the underground cell in Archibong(Bakassi) to Ikang military camp in Akpabuyo.
Plans are on advance stage for their release.

Sign;
Comrade Ekpenyong Edet
(Director of Information, ABGREMO)

=====
*Update: I was elated to speak with Edem this morning confirming that he and the others who were arrested and detained have now been released. The fact of the release does not, however, wipe away the ominuos clouds that are gathering in our landscape.

On behalf of the Environmental Rights Action/FoE Nigeria, I wish to assure you that we will continue to stand with you in solidarity as we all strugle for a Nigeria where freedom of movement as well as othe human, environmental and comunity rights are respected.

Nnimmo Bassey

From: Ekpenyong Effiong abgremo@yahoo.com

=======

Dear friends at ABGREMO,
We are happy to hear through Nnimmo Bassey that you guys have been released.

We believe that the arrest is against your foundamental human rights and offends democratic tenents. It is the same that is happening all over the Niger Delta. It is either that we are arrested, maimed or killed. It is time to let the international community know about all these atrocities in the aid of multinational oil/gas companies- let us come together to act now.

Akie Hart. President (MFCSN).

From: AKIE HART

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Indonesia

Indonesian Oil Palm Destroys Rainforests, Intimidates Communities
Protest Deutsche Bank’s Funding of PT London Sumatra
By Forests.org,
May 29, 2004

TAKE ACTION

——————————-

Burma

World Rainforest Movement Buletin #82

Burma: Forests for Export to China

Asia’s forests are being destroyed at a staggering rate. China, which has become, virtually overnight, the second largest importer of logs in the world, trailing only the United States, has a lot to do with it. (The volume of uncut logs arriving in China has more than tripled since 1998 to
over 15 million cubic meters.).

Domestic consumption is growing fast, as China’s burgeoning middle class buys new homes and Beijing undertakes huge civil-construction projects. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization has also driven tariffs
for most timber imports down to zero, fueling imports as well as a rapidly expanding export industry in everything from pulp and paper to furniture and decorations, most of it destined for the United States and Europe.

In 1998, after the People’s Republic was hit by devastating floods caused by deforestation, Beijing banned logging along the upperreaches of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers and called for a drastic reduction in other provinces. But there is growing evidence that it has merely exported this
problem. To make up for the shortfall in timber, and to meet the consumption needs of its booming economy, China is devouring the forests of neighbouring countries, much of it in the form of illegal logging leading to the destruction of huge swathes of pristine old-growth forests.

As its extraordinary economic boom gains momentum, China is now the world’s fastest-growing market for tropical timber. Its forest-product imports soared by 75 per cent last year, reaching $11.2 billion (U.S.). Its furniture factories are expanding by as much as 40 per cent a year.

The timber trade to China is so massive that it is provoking remorse even among those who are doing the selling. “It’s the biggest mistake we’ve made,” said Bao Youxiang, head of the United Wa State Army, a former
guerrilla army that has become a regional authority in northeastern Burma. “We’ve destroyed our environment,” he said. “Because of a lack of income, the local authorities were forced to sell this resource to China. It’s the
only resource they had.”

Until recently, Burma was one of the most thickly forested countries in the world. Its vast ancient forests were among the richest and most biodiverse in the world. It still contains more than 80 per cent of the world’s teak trees, along with many other rare hardwoods. But its
old-growth forests, which used to cover 60 per cent of the country as recently as 1960, now cover less than 30 per cent. And the percentage is falling fast.

When economic sanctions were imposed on Burma’s military dictatorship in the 1990s, the regime responded with a dramatic increase in logging concessions and timber exports to bolster its revenue and maintain its
power. Today it has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation.

More than 9 per cent of Burma’s legal foreign earnings came from logging in 2002, according to official data. But the actual amount of timber revenue is believed to be more than twice the official figure, with huge
amounts of the logging trade illegal or unrecorded.

Even as a ban was supposedly being imposed in the Wa territory, Burma’s forestry ministry was giving new logging concessions to the Wa and other regional authorities on its northern and eastern borders. According to local media reports, the Burma authorities are aiming to double their earnings from timber exports.

The problem is compounded by the heavy involvement of Burma’s drug lords and military authorities in the timber business. Drug traffickers have often invested in logging companies as a way of laundering their profits. And the military regime has awarded valuable logging concessions to its business cronies and political allies in exchange for their support.

According to a detailed report on the booming trade published by Global Witness, “The local population has benefited little in economic terms, but the powerful have enriched themselves.”

Article based on information from:
“Myanmar mired in a deforestation crisis”, Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail, ;
“A Conflict of Interest: The uncertain future of Burma’s forests”, Global Witness (October 2003),;
“A reckless harvest”, Geoffrey York, Newsweek,
From: Teresa Perez teresap@wrm.org.uy

——————————-

S. ASIA

Bangladesh

The Sundarbans and coastal fisheries

Md Emdadul Haque

THE DAILY STAR

The Sundarbans is considered to be the single tract largest mangrove forest in the world that covers an area of 6017 km2, out of which 4143 km2 is the landmass. The remaining 1874 km2 are water bodies in the form of numerous rivers, canals and creeks of widths varying from a few metres to several kilometres. Most are tidal in nature and are connected to the larger rivers and estuaries. Despite these, the Sundarbans is a potential tourist attraction, renowned for its beauty and unique ecosystem important for study and research. The Sundarbans also plays an important role as a buffer in protecting the agricultural hinterlands from the onslaught of frequently occurring cyclones and tidal surges. The Sundarban mangrove forest constitutes about 51 percent of total forest area and 4.2 percent of the total land area of the country. These mangrove resources play an important role in the national economy of Bangladesh and can be divided into forestry, fisheries and aesthetic components.

Mangrove forests are considered a source of primary productivity in the form of litter: reproductive products, twigs and the whole dead tree which directly or indirectly contribute energy to the ecosystem. The mangroves improve soil salinity because they can prevent hypersaline conditions by removing salt from the soil through secretion by glands and leaves that then create a favouable environment for many other organisms.

The mangroves produce prop roots (as in the Rhizophoraceae) and pneumatophores with breathing pores for diffusion of oxygen into the plants. The mangroves can propagate by means of viviparity i.e. germination commences in the fruits while attached to the tree with the seedlings dropping from the tree to be dispersed by water some distance from the parent tree. The mud, suspended particles and other sediments are an important component of mangrove ecosystems. Unicellular algae and blue green bacteria utilise the mud surface for photosynthesis. The mud surface offers both food and shelter for many filter feeders, detritivores, herbivores and predators, including fish and crabs. The mangrove pneumatophores, aerial roots and lower branches often provide shelter for algae, barnacles and oysters that are, in turn, consumed by higher predators.

A network of rivers, canals and creeks intersect this forest, thus creating a different set of habitats to that provided by other forest types in the country. It is also a habitat, nursery ground and refuge for many species of marine and coastal fishes, shrimps, crabs, molluscs and mammals (e.g. dolphin), several species of marine turtles, reptiles such as the estuarine crocodile and different species of monitor lizard. Shrimps and crabs are the most important crustacean and are abundant in mangroves worldwide.

Sundarbans supports total 291 species of fishery resources and constitutes an important commercial and artisanal fishery industry that produces fresh fish, iced fish, sun dried fish, smoked fish, salted fish, fish meal and sharks oil. Thus, Sundarban provides a considerable harvest of whitefish, shrimps, prawns, mud crabs, snails/oysters and billions of shrimp/prawn post-larvae for shrimp aquaculture farms. These industries support about 155,000 fishermen throughout the year.

Mangroves are located in estuarine areas and provide important habitats for fish e.g. nursery functions, shelter for juveniles and food for piscivorous species. The extent of dependence may differ between different species e.g. most species of Mugilidae found in sheltered estuaries or mangroves seldom occur in coastal waters. In addition, tropical clupeoids are estuarine dependent as juveniles. Others such as Asian Tenualosa (ilish) are estuarine dependent with reference to spawning grounds. It is noted that predatory action of some larger fish are hampered due to mangrove structure although some individuals did penetrate these systems in search for food.

Mangroves play a nursery role for estuarine fishes. The mangrove forests are important for healthy coastal ecosystems because the forest detritus, consisting mainly of fallen leaves and branches from the mangroves, provides nutrients for the marine environment. These detritus support varieties of sea life in complex food webs associated directly through detritus or indirectly through the planktonic and epiphytic algal food chains. The plankton and the benthic algae are primary sources of carbon in the mangrove ecosystem, in addition to detritus. The shallow intertidal reaches where there is mangrove wetland provides refuge and nursery grounds for juvenile fish, crabs, shrimp and molluscs. The reasons for these dependencies may be described as follows:

(1) The trophic resources (e.g. convergence of riverine freshwater and tidal currents) produce large volumes of turbid water where organic particles and fragments are concentrated and subjected to strong microbial activity to release nutrients. The nutrient released is used by phytoplankton, at the base of a web including zooplankton and shrimps. Abundant food resources are thus made available to fish and shrimp post-larvae, with a range of planktonic food sizes matching their filtration and capture capabilities.

(2) Water turbidity and shade (e.g. turbidity and shade provided by the mangrove leaves and pneumatophores) reduce the perception distance of predators and increase the escape rate and consequently the survival rate of young fish and shrimps. Estuaries and mangroves are places where less fish predation occurs due to turbid water, absence of larger fish, shallow water and increased hiding places for juveniles in sea grasses or mangrove branch, roots, and pneumatophores.

(3) Structural diversity (e.g. diversity and structural complexity of mangroves and estuaries) offers trophic niches for different species and sizes. The higher concentration of food present in pneumatophore areas supports abundant fish species.

From the above discussion it is suggested that fish depend on mangroves and estuaries as nurseries (food and shelter) and that these habitats are important for juvenile and adult fish for their survival and growth. Hambrey, (1999) reported that economic valuation of the fisheries function of mangroves was estimated to range from US$ 66 to almost $3000/ha. Therefore, the worldwide estimates of the value of the mangroves to commercial fisheries have raised awareness about importance of mangroves. So the Sundarbans mangrove forest needs proper attention, management and political commitment for sustainable coastal fisheries development in the area.

Md Emdadul Haque is Divisional Forest Officer, Aquatic Resources Division, Sundarbans, Khulna.

rom: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

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Tree felling banned in Sundarban
NewAge, Dhaka, Bangladesh

URL

Against the backdrop of high rate of forest depletion, a parliamentary committee has asked the authorities concerned to stop felling of all sorts of trees in Sundarban, the world�s largest mangrove forest.
The directive came at a Thursday meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Forest and Environment following reports of wholesale tree felling in the name of elimination of infected Sundari trees by a section of local timber traders in connivance with a section of employees in the forest department.
The government on Wednesday suspended 15 employees of Khulna Range � nine forest rangers, deputy forest rangers and foresters and six forest guards � for their alleged involvement in felling trees and selling them in the market.
Located in the south-western Bangladesh and part of India, a world heritage site Sundarban, also one of the world�s biggest wildlife sanctuaries, covers an area of 38,500 square kilometres (forest and wetland).
The meeting, presided over by committee chairman Nazimuddin Alam, also asked the forest experts to examine the reasons for the longstanding top-dying disease of Sundari trees and take steps to save the mangrove forest from depletion.
�Tree felling will remain stopped until the experts find out a way to check the top-dying disease,� the committee chairman told New Age over phone.
According to statistics, productivity of mangrove forest has declined by 25 per cent in a period of 25 years.
Forest resources in Bangladesh have declined in an alarming rate and the rate of deforestation in early 1990�s was 3.3 per cent, according to studies conducted by the World Resources Institute and Centre for International Development and Environment for USAID and Bangladesh agriculture census.
The committee also emphasised on social forestation as the forest forestry sector contributes over three per cent to the nation�s gross domestic product.

From: Zakir Kibria

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Shrimp Seal of Quality news service

Shrimp Seal of Quality (SSOQ) has launched “SSOQ-GrameenPhone Shrimp News” service on Tuesday.

URL: THE DAILY STAR

The Bengali news service will focus on local and international shrimp market prices, new technologies and event news.

The GrameenPhone subscribers will have access to the news service by dialling 2200 from mobile phones at a cost Tk 2 per minute, says a press release.

Besides the market news, the service will provide information on best practices, trouble shooting and international laws and acts pertaining to human and labour rights, food safety and environmental issues.

Agro-based Industries and Technology Development Project (ATDP) Chief of Party Ron Gillespie, Head of Market Research and Development of GrameenPhone Ltd (GP) Rubaba Dowla Matin, SSOQ Coordinator Cedric Randolph, SSOQ Communications Director Mamunur Rahman, SSOQ Communications and Market Research Officer Natasha Hayat, and GP Officer-MRD Tanveer Zaman, among others, were present at the launching ceremony.

From: Zakir Kibria

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E. ASIA

China

Note from Editor: Most US Soybeans are Genetically Modified, I believe. So is this really good for industrial aquaculture products to contain such GM feed ingredients?

Industrial FishFarming

Soy beans Bolster China’s aquazculture Industry and US Growers

Date Posted: 5/21/2004

In 1992, the aquaculture industry in China was not using soybean meal in feed. Today, soybean meal use by this industry is estimated to exceed 185 million bushels of soybeans a year, thanks in part to soybean checkoff-funded programs, implemented by the American Soybean Association (ASA). These programs increased demand for U.S. soybean meal through feeding demonstrations showing the nutritional and economic advantages of feeding U.S. soybean meal to fish. As a result of the success experienced building demand for soybean meal in China’s aquaculture industry, the soybean checkoff is now conducting similar demand-building activities in the
aquaculture industries in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Phillipines. Checkoff-funded seminars, presented to fish farmers, feed mills, university professors and government and extension officials in these nations,
highlight data from previous feeding demonstrations held in China.

From: mskladany@iatp.org

STORIES/ISSUES
Genetically modified trees cause memory loss

What about GM mangrove seedlings? Does MAP have a policy about this?
Ian Baird, MAP Steering Committee Member
=====

Genetically modified trees cause memory loss

By Chris Lang. Published in WRM Bulletin 82, May 2004. www.wrm.org.uy

Maybe it’s something in the water in Geneva that causes temporary memory loss. Or maybe it’s the coffee. Whatever, the participants at the fourth meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-4) held in Geneva in May seemed to be suffering from a form of collective amnesia.

Five months ago, the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP-9) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached a decision that will promote industrial forestry projects and genetically modified (GM) tree plantations. COP-9 decided to allow the North to establish
plantations, including GM tree plantations, in the South under the Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism”. The plantations are supposed to absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon.

This decision has major implications for forests and people around the world. It effectively provides a subsidy to corporations and Northern governments encouraging them to take over huge tracts of land in the South
and plant them with GM trees.

But delegates at the two week-long UNFF-4 were strangely reluctant to discuss the implications of this decision.
On the third day of the meeting, Henning Wuester of the UNFCCC talked for eleven minutes about COP-9. Wuester’s presentation was fascinating, if you are fascinated by superficial references to modalities, procedures, reporting of emissions and that sort of thing. Unfortunately, Wuester forgot to mention that COP-9 decided to include GM tree plantations in the Clean Development Mechanism. That the delegates to UNFF-4 might want t discuss some of the implications of this decision must have simply slipped his mind.

Not everyone at UNFF-4 forgot about GM trees. Some of us turned up specifically to talk about them. I had the pleasure of chairing a side event organised by Hannu Hyv�nen of the Finnish Union of Ecoforestry. Hannu presented a petition to a representative of the UNFF Secretariat demanding that the UN bans GM trees. The petition was signed by more than 140 organisations and over 1,500 people.

Anne Petermann of the US-based Global Justice Ecology Project and Mikko Vartiainen from the People’s Biosafety Organisation in Finland joined Hannu on the panel. In his presentation, Hannu described how GM trees are
the most recent and perhaps the most dangerous development of a model of industrial forestry that has had devastating impacts on the world’s forests. Anne described the risks associated with GM trees. If GM trees
crossed with forest trees we would have “native forests that kill insects, ruin soil ecology, have no food for wildlife, distribute toxic pollen, exhaust the soil and deplete the ground water”, she said. Mikko explained
how the introduction of GM trees contravenes the precautionary principle and is illegal under international law.

In the discussion following the presentations none of the 30 participants at the side event, including 12 government delegates, put forward any arguments in favour of continuing research into GM trees or establishing field trials of GM trees.

Macarthy Afolabi Oyebo from the Department of Forestry in Nigeria explained that the legislation that his government has put in place “makes it almost impossible to bring GMOs into the country”.

Another case of memory loss, I’m afraid. Oyebo must have forgotten that a three day meeting on “Facilitating Biotechnology in West Africa” took place in Nigeria the previous week. At the opening ceremony the Nigerian
> government signed an agreement with the US government aimed at promoting biotechnology and GM products in Nigeria.

The Times of Nigeria reported the agreement under the headline “Nigeria poised for biotech take-off”. The Times reported that Rick Roberts from the US Embassy “charged Nigeria to embrace biotechnology”.

Back at the UNFF-4 side event, Safiya Samman from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service commented that in the US, “We do have a regulatory body and assessments are carried out of any GM plants.”

The USDA is responsible for regulating biotechnology, through its Animal Plant Health Inspection Agency. However, as Anne Petermann pointed out, the regulatory system in the US leaves much to be desired.

US-based ArborGen is the world’s biggest forestry biotechnology company. The company currently has 51 field trials of GM poplar, eucalyptus, pine, sweetgum and cottonwood trees in the US. ArborGen’s scientists have
genetically manipulated the trees to have less lignin, to grow faster, to be sterile or to be resistant to herbicide.

ArborGen was formed in 1999 by three huge timber companies (Fletcher Challenge Forests, International Paper and Westvaco) and a New Zealand-based biotechnology research company (Genesis Research and Development). In 2000, Rubicon took over Fletcher Challenge Forests’
involvement in the company.

ArborGen, according to a 1999 press release, aims “to position itself to market new advances in forestry biotechnology to the world’s tree growers in the shortest possible time”.

If ever there was a company that needed to be carefully regulated, ArborGen is it. Yet the USDA has only turned down one of ArborGen’s applications for GM tree field trials and that was on a technicality. ArborGen has not submitted an environmental impact assessment for any of
its GM tree field trials.

Of course USDA’s Safiya Samman knew this. Sadly, in common with most of the delegates at UNFF-4 she was suffering from GM tree-induced amnesia and
she just forgot to mention it.

www.chrislang.blogspot.com/

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FAO Support for agricultural biotechnology in its State of Food and Agriculture 2003-2004 report Questioned
From: M. Taghi Farvar, Chair, IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy
To: Jacques Diouf, Director General, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation
Date: May 25, 2004
Subject: FAO State of Food and Agriculture, 2003-2004
Dear Sir,
The Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) of The World Conservation Union (IUCN) is extremely dismayed at the support expressed by the FAO for agricultural biotechnology in its State of Food and Agriculture 2003-2004 report.
CEESP is very skeptical of any technological “quick-fix” solution to the problem of hunger, which we maintain is primarily a problem of rights relating to control over means of agricultural production, food distribution systems, buying power, etc. rather than a problem of lack of technology.
The promises of agricultural biotechnology mentioned in the report must be assessed on the merit of whether or not they meet the needs and demands expressed by food producers. Direct citizen engagement and negotiations on the content, purpose and potential risks of scientific innovations are necessary, including with food producers such as farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, consumers and other groups who are usually marginalised in any debate on “scientific” issues. In fact, the FAO has established a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation with such groups, through the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, but has totally excluded their call for GMO-free agricultural development from its SOFA report.
Furthermore, genetic engineering has to be weighed against an assessment of whether there are viable alternative solutions to the problems they are attempting to solve. Many, if not all, of the production problems which GM technologies are aiming to solve can be tackled in other ways by farmers – with much less risk and expense – using modern agroecological approaches that emphasise the multiple functions of agriculture. [NOTE; EVEN TRADITONAL/CLASSICAL METHODS SUCH AS SELECTIVE BREEDING REMAIN USEFUL] Furthermore, unlike the new biotechnologies, farmer-based approaches have withstood the test of time [THIS PHRASE MIGHT CONTRADICT THE WORD 'modern' IN THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE] and public acceptance in a variety of agroecosystems, regions and cultural contexts.
The crucial question is, Why should the world opt for a risky and expensive technology that is likely to remain out of reach of most of the world’s marginal farmers, and whose long-term impacts are at best uncertain and at worst horrifying, which is geared towards food processing, consumer niche markets and uniformity, when there is a viable, already available alternative that is cheaper, more accessible to the poor, and ecologically sensitive? Most governments are simply not giving agroecological farming a chance because it is decentralised, involves empowering the poor, and does not depend on powerful chemical/biotech companies. Those governments that have chosen to give it a chance, such as Ethiopia, have shown its enormous potential.
We reiterate that hunger is not caused by a lack of food (today more food is produced per person than at any other time in history), but by social and political factors. By advocating for agricultural biotechnology FAO has greatly damaged its reputation as a source of objective information and analysis. We call on the FAO to direct its resources to building and promoting alternatives to agricultural biotechnology, such as agroecology, and thus to spend its energy supporting the world’s poor, rather than working against them.
Best regards,
M. Taghi Farvar
Chair, IUCN/CEESP

From: “Maryam Rahmanian”

——————————-

U.S. Ocean Commission Publishes Preliminary Report

“Living ocean and coastal resources, once thought to be boundless, have revealed their limits. Coastal areas are essential spawning, feeding, and nursery areas for over three quarters of U.S. commercial fish catches, however about 40,000 acres of coastal wetlands disappear
yearly. Current projections indicate 50-60 percent of coral reefs may be lost during the next 30 years. Twelve billion tons of ballast water is shipped around the world each year, spreading alien and invasive species.” So notes a press release announcing publication of the Preliminary Report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

The Commission was established under the Oceans Act 2000, with a mandate to establish findings and develop recommendations for a new and comprehensive national ocean policy. It began its work in September 2001 with a series of 15 public meetings and 17 additional site visits
in every coastal region of the country and the Great Lakes.

The overarching theme of the Commission’s preliminary recommendation is ecosystem based management. The Commission concluded that it is critical that ocean and coastal resources be managed to reflect the complex interrelationships among the ocean, land, air, and all living creatures, including humans, and consider the interactions among the multiple activities that affect entire systems. It identified a number of needed changes based upon three fundamental themes:

- Creating a new national ocean policy framework to improve decision-making;

- Strengthening science and generating high-quality accessible information to inform decision makers;

- Enhancing ocean education to instill future leaders and informed citizens with a stewardship ethic.

According to the report, a new national ocean policy framework must be established to improve federal leadership and coordination “to enable agencies to address the ocean, land and air as oneinter-connected
system.” The Commission also calls for “new investment in the infrastructure to support data collection and research and the means to effectively translate scientific findings into useful, timely information for policy managers, educators, and the public.”

From: Bill Mott
bmott@SEAWEB.ORG

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Ocean Day, June 8th

World Ocean Day on June 8th!
See www.WorldOceanDay.org for more information.
-From The Ocean Project
Bill Mott
bmott@SEAWEB.ORG
AQUACULTURE CORNER
Hatchery Salmon & Trout Health Risks

Anglers should limit eating hatchery-raised salmon, trout. Atlantic salmon and trout raised in federal hatcheries in the Northeast have high enough levels of dioxin and other pollutants that anglers should eat no more than half a serving a month. Associated Press [related stories] WEBSITE

From: mritchie@iatp.org

 

Additional papers are available at this site, and we are soliciting other papers for inclusion on the site for general availability.

Please respond to LESRRL3@AOL.COM
ROBIN LEWIS

Late Friday News, 138th Ed., 21 May 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 138th Edition of the Late Friday News.

This newsletter is brought to you for free, but PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Check our website for details or contact: mangroveap@olympus.net

Also, Please Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles To MAP!

Please consider helping MAP meet those demands for our presence at certain conferences and workshops whereby our greatest cost to attend important events is airfare, which too often holds us back from attending important fora where MAP’s presence should be felt.

Please donate your frequent flyer miles to MAP so we can be in the right place at the right time to present MAP’s needed voice at such fora where too often the grassroots voice for the local communities and for the mangroves is not heard.

If you wish to donate your frequent flyer miles, pleas contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net.

Your help in this important matter will be much appreciated!

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 138th Edition, 21 May 2004

FEATURE STORY
Call For International Day For The Mangroves-July 26th

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP
Work-Study Tour In the Mangroves

AFRICA
Nigeria
The Mangrove Forest, Threats & Rescue Measures

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand
Senator calls on MRC to involve public
U.S. to ban some Thai shrimp exports over lack of sea turtle protection
FARMED-SHRIMP EXPORTS: Move to delay US ban

S. ASIA
Bangladesh
Forests vanishing in Patuakhali coasts:
Planned International Workshop On Sundarbans
US experts urge immediate conservation measures

E. ASIA
China
‘Red tide’ of algae threatens China’s seas

OCEANIA
Australia
AUSTRALIA TO CREATE WORLD’S LARGEST MARINE RESERVE SYSTEM

LATIN AMERICA
COSTA RICA
Wetlands Under Threat

Mexico
Mangroves Illegally Losing To Development Pressures
***ACTION ALERT!!!***

NORTH AMERICA
USA
US delays decision on shrimp duties

EUROPE
JUMBO SHRIMP PROBLEMS

STORIES/ISSUES
Shrimp farms ‘harm poor nations’
Conservation Efforts Need to Look Beyond Charismatic Species
The Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD)
Ban Genetically Engineered Trees
Overfishing Could Make Cod Extinct in 15 Years-WWF
SALMON REFUGE ESTABLISHED ON KAMCHATKA

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Ocean Day — June 8th!

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
International Workshop on Collective Strategies for Conservation and Livelihood Sustenance
New Publication on Mangroves of the Philippines
“Mining. Social and Environmental Impacts.”

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Shift on Salmon Reignites Fight on Species Law

FEATURE STORY
Call For International Day For The Mangroves-July 26th

Since 1998 the 26th of July has been called the “International Day of Mangrove”. Please join us this day to celebrate the life that the mangroves provide, and to work even harder to conserve andrestore these threatened ecosystems worldwide. As we did last year, please share what you are planning to do this year for the mangroves, and let us know what actions you will be taking in your countries in defense of these vital ecosystems.

Renewed Call For A Campaign for the 26th of July, A Day For The Defense Of The Mangroves

A Call to Action From FUNDECOL in Ecuador: Salvemos Al Manglar-Save the Mangrove, July 26th Call To Action!!

“LIBERTAD PARA EL MANGLAR”,
Manglares secuestrados en las piscinas camaroneras

FREEDOM FOR THE MANGROVES!
Mangroves Sequestered By The Shrimp Ponds

To understand the significance of the 26th of July we need to go back a little bit in time. It was 1998 when the communities of ancestral users of the mangroves of Ecuador decided to join efforts in a big campaign where the local and national media was invited and received the support of members of various organizations from Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, United States (all of them, at the moment, part of the ISA-Net network) and the members of the worldwide crew of the ship “Rainbow Warrior? of Greenpeace.

On the 26 of July the communities joined in a big action to re-establish the mangrove dynamics in an illegal shrimp pond. Working together, we denounced nationally and internationally the actual costs of the shrimp consumption in the countries of the North.

That same 26th of July the National Coordinator in Defense of the Mangroves in Ecuador was created. A public statement was delivered to the National Authorities at that time, claiming to stop the mangrove destruction and promoting the concession of the mangroves to the organized grass-root communities of the mangroves.

In 1999 the government took in account this claim and an Executive Decree passed which forbids any attempt to destroy the Ecuadorian mangroves and opens the possibility for the community concessions in mangrove areas. However, constantly the laws are broken by powerful shrimp industrials but the communities empowerment is one of our main strengths at the moment to protect the environment and the community rights.

Hayhow Daniel Nanoto:
It’s very important to mention the doctor of the (Greenpeace) ship who so unfortunately died during the reforestation we did in the illegal shrimp farm. But for the most, the 26th of July is the day when we all, communities and organizations working in defense of the mangroves, joined for the first time as (in the Bible) little “Davids” confronting a big “Goliath” which is the shrimp industry. That is the main point in this celebration, but please, don’t forget Nanoto who left his life in the mangroves of Muisne.

>From Veronica of FUNDECOL in Ecuador

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp. at: this website

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

—————————-

ANNOUNCEMENT: Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site iswithin a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com.

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp.

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

=====
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

—————————-

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. this website

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

—————————-

Work-Study Tour In the Mangroves

MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for late August/ early September 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows threetimes. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”
AFRICA
Nigeria

The Mangrove Forest, Threats & Rescue Measures

Oilslick Consult-HSE & Biotechnology Consultants, presents a 3-Day Seminar on:
The Mangrove Forest, Threats & Rescue Measures
Venue: International Airport Hotel, Omagwa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Date: 16-18, June, 2004

Background:
Much of Nigeria’s Mangrove Forest is located in the Niger Delta. Being the largest in Africa (9730 km2), it ranks as the third largest in the world and it is estimated to cover between 5400 km2 and 6000 km2. It is defined by regular salt water inundation, while the soil is predominated by acid sulphate, silty clay, clay loam and peat or chikoko, and tend to be saline when dry and neutral pH when wet. When dry, the soil sulphides are oxidized to sulphuric acid leaving a highly acidic environment.

Mangrove Forests of the niger delta principally comprise of Rhizophoraceae (Rhizophora racemosa, R. harrisonii, and R. mangle) Avicennia (Avicennia africana), and Combretaceae (Laguncularia raremosa) Their distribution depend on several factors: salinity, frequency, duration of flooding, siltation rates, soil compaction, and strength of erosion forces. Creeks, which are kept open by tidal action and flooding, flow throughout the forests.

Ecological & Economic Importance of Mangroves
Successfully managed mangroves (in Malaysia for instance) provide firewood, poles and building materials from thinnings, high quality charcoal (from stems burnt in permanent kilns, are used for purifying polluted ground water and are said to have medicinal purposes). The back is used as tannin for dyeing fishing nets. Salt production from mangrove wood is a specialised activity confined to a small number of communities e.g. in the Apoi area of the niger delta. The Forest is the habitat of several shell fish and wild animals.

Mangrove Productivity is important as half of it falls as leaf litter and dead wood (EEC, 1992). The combination of accumulated dead mangrove biomass and the living tree’s ability to trap sediments and organic matter can increase land area and this also depends on sediment transport, erosion by currents and waves and the vertical movement of land. The litterfall and accumulation of organic matter are also the basis for the aquatic food chain linking decomposers to marine and estuarine fish, mollusks (oysters and periwinkles), and crustaceans, especially shrimps and crabs (Ashton-Jones and Douglas, 1994, 140).

Statement of Problem:
Since these forests dominate much of the worlds tropical shoreline, they are often adjacent to oil tanker routes, terminals, tankfarms, flowstations, pipelines, gas flare sites and sometimes refineries (ASTM, 1990). Up to two-thirds of the world’s food populations depend on detritus from mangrove areas (Canestri and Ruiz, 1973). Based on the biology of mangrove trees and the geomorphology of the areas in which they live, mangroves have been ranked as one of the most sensitive marine environments (Gundlach and Hayes, 1976). Fragile as they are, their exposure to damage and deforestation resulting from dredging, reclamation, clearing for pipeline routes and other oilfield development and for domestic as well as new town developments is higher than other less sensitive forests. The problem is compounded in the event of an oil spill, which is frequent in the niger delta. When mangroves are oiled (during spills), death of trees often occur, due to physical suffocation when oil coats the prop routes through which they breathe. Futhermore Nypa Palm which was introduced to Calabar in1906 (Adegbehin and Nwaigbo, 1995, 15) has spread to Bonny over the past 94 years and it is known to outcompete mangroves in the recolonisation of exposed waterfronts and degraded sites (NIOMR, n. d. , 3).

These factors threaten the trees. On the long term they affect land availability, because, apart from the fact that accumulated dead mangrove biomass and the tree’s ability to trap sediments and organic matter can increase land area, the prop roots also help to bind up the soil by providing natural shore protection, thereby keeping coastal erosion in check. Inevitable land loss, often follow widespread deforestation of mangrove trees. The sad story is that reforestation programs are slow because it takes about 100 years for the average mangrove tree to mature.

Seminar Objectives:
This Seminar intends to:
* Highlight the Importance of the Mangrove Ecosystem
* Create Awareness on the Dangers of Mangrove Destruction
* Develop Sustainable Mangrove Management for the Niger Delta
* Encourage Corporate Bodies & Government to support Mangrove-friendly projects

Seminar Papers:
* Economic & Ecological Significance of the Mangrove Forest
* Consequences of the Destruction of Mangroves – (Nypa Palm inclusive)
* Problems in Remediating Oiled Mangrove Ecosystems
* Reforestation and Conservation Programs- Case studies

For Registration, Contact:
The Seminar Consultant, (Attn: Mr M.I. Ofili)
Oilslick Consult
# 9, Chief Ejims Street, Rumuomasi, P.H., GSM: O8O35517346, e-mail: oilslyckconsult@yahoo.com

From: Anthony Ofili

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Bangkok Post May 10, 2004

Senator calls on MRC to involve public

Representatives of affected communities must be included in the Mekong River Commission (MRC) in order to ensure fair protection of the river, Chiang Rai senator Tuenjai Deetes said.

“The MRC should not be limited only to technocrats from the state sector. Local villagers who know the river well should have a role in determining the river’s development plan,” she said.

She said it was necessary for the MRC, which represents Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, to incorporate local people in order to determine what has caused the river to degrade so rapidly.

“Peoples of MRC have shared the river and they should have a role in protecting this river,” she said.

The senator believed that dam construction in China and blasting to clear waterways for commercial shipping have damaged the river’s ecosystem, causing low water levels, erosion of river banks, and a decline in the fish population.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”

—————————-

U.S. to ban some Thai shrimp exports over lack of sea turtle protection
May 12, 2004 9:31AM [AP Online]

BANGKOK, Thailand_The United States will ban some Thai shrimp as part of an embargo against countries whose fishing industries fail to protect endangered sea turtles, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday.

The United States will reject from May 15 all Thai shrimp exports that are not certified as being raised at farms instead of being caught by trawlers “which do not take measures to protect sea turtles,” the embassy statement said.

Thailand exports more than US$950 million worth of shrimp to the United States annually, with 95 percent produced at shrimp farms. Shrimp caught at sea by Thai trawlers accounts for more than US$40 million worth of annual exports to the United States.

The U.S. State Department is required to certify that countries exporting shrimp to the United States have taken all appropriate measures to prevent accidental capture or death of sea turtles.

“Unfortunately, Thailand’s shrimp fishing industry has not enthusiastically adopted the devices and methods that protect sea turtles when fishing for shrimp,” the statement said.

An unidentified U.S. Embassy officer was quoted as saying that “if Thailand’s shrimp fishing fleet used turtle excluder devices on their nets or other measures to protect sea turtles, we would not have had this problem.”

“When Thai shrimp fishermen join in the worldwide effort to protect sea turtles, this embargo can be reversed,” the officer said.

Thailand is among the world’s largest shrimp exporters.

Copyright (c) 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

From: “H.Breen” hbreen@traveljust.org

—————————-

FARMED-SHRIMP EXPORTS: Move to delay US ban

Published on May 13, 2004

Fishermen ‘need more time’ to install turtle protection devices

The Fisheries Department said yesterday it would ask the US to postpone its import ban on Thai sea shrimp from this Saturday to July 1 to give fishery officials here more time to take appropriate action.

The United States Embassy said on Wednesday that its government had no choice but to impose the embargo because local fishermen have failed to install and use equipment that prevents the capture of endangered sea turtles along with the shrimp.

Sitdhi Boonyaratpalin, director-general of the Fisheries Department, pointed out that the US said last year it would extend the extra period for Thailand to conform to the requirement for one year, ending this July 1.

Local exporters view the US announcement as an attempt to curb Thai imports.

“It is an effort by American non-governmental organisations to impose non-tariff barriers on our products,” said Prakong Jantarat, president of the Thai Shrimp Farmers Association.

Caught shrimp make up only 5 per cent of the country’s total shrimp exports to the US, worth US$950 million (Bt38.5 billion) each year.

But the latest US move marks another step in the use of environmental concerns to ban Thai products, said Ampon Kittiampon, secretary-general of the Agriculture Ministry’s National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards.

For over a decade, the US has cited protective measures for endangered species as a reason to bar Thai food imports.

In the early 1990s, the US tried to curb Thailand’s canned tuna by reasoning that her fishermen failed to take steps to protect dolphins while trawling for tuna.

In early 1997, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand jointly petitioned the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against a partial US import ban on shrimp and shrimp products. The protection of sea turtles was at the heart of the ban.

The US lost the case because its measure discriminated against WTO members.

“We have talked about this issue and it’s not possible for some Thai trawlers to install the special device required by the US because the TED [turtle excluder device] is quite expensive,” Ampon said.

Apiradi Tantraporn, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the Fisheries Department has negotiated with the US to allow the entry of shipments with certificates guaranteeing that fishing methods did not imperil endangered sea turtles. However, the certificate has to be issued on a case-by-case basis.

The Thai Shrimp Farmers Association’s Prakong said the net effect of Saturday’s ban would not be that great since the volume of non-farmed shrimp was small, but the government should investigate the matter to ensure fairness for local fishermen and exporters.

US inspectors visited in January and March to check on the use of TEDs by local fishermen, a US official said. US law requires that country’s State Department to certify that countries exporting shrimp to the US have taken all appropriate measures to prevent accidental capture or death of endangered sea turtles. Unfortunately, Thailand’s shrimp industry has not enthusiastically adopted the devices and methods that protect sea turtles when fishing for shrimp, the official said.

The US will allow import of Thai pond-raised shrimp but requires all deliveries to the US to be accompanied by an Importer/Exporter’s Declaration to help distinguish the contents from fished shrimp.

The local shrimp industry is already on the defensive, fighting a US investigation into American shrimpers’ claims of dumping by six producing countries.

A US decision on whether to slap countervailing duties on Thai shrimp is expected later this year, but the uncertainty has driven local shrimp production down by 70 per cent this year, the industry said in March.

However, a US Embassy official denied that the embargo on caught shrimp and the documentation requirement for farmed shrimp was related to that case. “Absolutely not,” the official said.

“These new measures are required under US public law as part of the US sea turtle conservation programme.”

The stakes are high for shrimp farmers, processors and exporters. The US is the world’s largest shrimp consumer and Thailand’s biggest market, importing around 120,000 tonnes, or about half of the country’s total annual exports of shrimp.

Jeerawat Na Thalang,

Benjaprut Akkarasriprapai

THE NATION

From:

S. ASIA
Bangladesh

Note: The following pertains to the Southeastern fringe of the Sundarbans mangrove forest.

Forests vanishing in Patuakhali coasts:
Pilferage alleged: Death of timber trees in reserve forests

URL: The Daily Star

Reserve forests in coastal areas of Patuakhali are disappearing due to large-scale death of trees and stealing by organized gangs of thieves.

Local people alleged that the gangs are stealing valuable timber trees from forests in coastal areas of Kalapara and Galachipa upazila in connivance with a section of forest department staff and law enforcers.

Scores of valuable trees like Sundary, Kewra, Garan and Karai are being taken away from reserve forests in Fatrar Ban, Char Gongamoti, Souar Char, Nishan Baria and Kachop Khali lake every night. These are loaded in trawlers and sent to different areas including Dhaka and Chittagong. Parts of these are also sold at nearby sawmills.

Forest officials sometimes recover stolen timber and arrest people, but this is only an eyewash, they alleged.

When contacted, Patuakhali Forest Division sources said they are trying their best to stop the illegal felling of trees.
“We recovered about 500 cft Sundary timber from three trawlers on Kalagachia river on February 17 and arrested 15 people”, one official said.

On the other hand, trees in reserve forests along the coasts are dying in large scale. Forest officials and local people said thousands of timber trees in vast areas of Char Gongamoti, Kuakata, Khajura, Lambun Char and Kawer Char under Kalapara upazila have died.

Death of trees was noticed about six years back. Trees are dying in large scale now, local people said. Some officials suspect that the trees are dying as their roots can not suck sweet water because of deposit of two to three feet sand in the beach, carried by tidal wave. Forest officialssaid excessive deposit of sand is harmful for mangrove forest. The forests can be saved if the sand layer is removed. But it is costly.

But other officials differ with the view. There could be other reasons they said but could not specify.
This correspondent during a visit to Kuakata sea beach last week saw hundreds of left over roots after people took away dead trees. Abdul Mannan, 40, of Char Gangamoti said the withering process starts four to five months after their roots are covered with sand.

From: Zakir Kibria

—————————-

Planned International Workshop On Sundarbans

ActionAid Bangladesh is going to organize an International workshop on “Collective Strategies for Conservation and Livelihood Sustenance” where ActionAid India, Sundarban Monch (india), ActionAid Bangladesh, SBCP watch group, ActionAid Aisa and also some national and International organization will be participate the workshop on 19-20 of May at Khulna (root level planning workshop) and 23, May at Dhaka (national level and cross border planning workshop).

From: “Sardar Arif Uddin” arif@fo.actionaid-bd.org

—————————-

Encyclopedia Entry With Information on Sundarbans of Bangladesh

An encyclopedia on Bangladesh has been launched recently, bellow is the link to it’s entry on Sundarbans.
URL: banglapedia

From: Zakir Kibria
banglapraxis@yahoo.com

—————————-

US experts urge immediate conservation measures
Public, private and civil society partnership seen vital
NewAge, April 23, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh
www.newagebd.com

United States experts on Thursday gave a wake up call to Bangladesh urging the need to preserve and protect the environment, forests, wetlands, waterways and wildlife.
?Bangladesh should ensure and spread out a public, private and civil society partnership in preserving the environment soon,? United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Dhaka?s mission director Gene Gorge told at a function at the American Centre on Thursday.
The function was organised to observe Earth Day 2004.
In a written message on that day, US ambassador to Dhaka, Harry K Thomas said that the challenge of protecting forests, wetlands, waterways and wildlife in Bangladesh is great because the pressures of population growth and economic development often appear to be in conflict with the goals of preserving the environment.
Through programmes to develop co-management of forests resources and wetlands, as well as programmes to grant funds to promote preservation of Bangladesh natural riches, the United States hopes to help Bangladesh pursue a policy of sustainable development, he said.
Chief of party of US based Winrock International, Darrell L Deppert, US embassy environment, science and technology officer, Joseph B Mellott, chief of party of International Resource Group, Phillip J DeCosse and deputy chief conservator of forests Mohammad Osman Gani also addressed the function.
Mentioning declining flow of water to Bangladesh in trans-boundary rivers Darrell L Deppert said that if the flow continues to reduce, it will impact the (lower riparian) country.
?During the dry season, the upstream users consume a great deal of water,? said Darrell, also involved in US aided Manage-ment of Aquatic Ecosystem through Community Husbandry (MACH) project in Bangladesh.
He said that dry season surface water in Bangladesh continues to decline as the country has lost 50 per cent of its wetlands during last 20-30 years, with the Padma?s flow reduced by 50-70 per cent, and the Turag?s flow reduced by 30-40 per cent.
He added that over last 150 years the country has also lost 90 per cent of its forest cover. Fish consumption has been reduced by 38 per cent among the poorest and the overall reduction is 12 per cent. More than 20 per cent of freshwater fish species are in danger of extinction, he added.
He said that MACH is working to demonstrate environmentally sound community management of wetland resources for the sustainable supply of food to the poor.
Phillip J DeCosse, who is working with Nishorgo support project, said that if urgent measures were not taken soon, Bangladesh?s forests will no longer retain water, support diverse species and provide livelihoods as they once did.

From: Zakir Kibria

E. ASIA

China

Toxic algae have formed a vast “red tide” off the coast of China, blanketing an area of ocean larger than
1.3 million football fields. London Independent, England.

‘Red tide’ of algae threatens China’s seas

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
16 May 2004

Toxic algae have formed a vast “red tide” off the coast of China, blanketing an area of ocean larger than 1.3 million football fields. The vast bloom is just the latest manifestation of what the UN has identified as the greatest emerging threat to the health of the seas.

Yesterday, the Chinese government warned people not to eat fish from the area of the bloom in the East China Sea, off the island of Zhoushan Dao, south of Shanghai. Pan Yue, vice-minister at the State Environmental Protection Administration, said: “It might cause damage to people because the red tide contains paralysing toxins.”

He added: “The phenomenon, though colourful in appearance, is very dangerous because it can lead to the death of aquatic life and therefore cause damage to the fishing industry.”

Red tides – caused by algae feeding on pollution from sewage, fertiliser, car emissions and industrial waste – develop astonishingly fast. Each alga can replicate itself a million times in just two to three weeks until they cover the surface of the sea.

They can suffocate all life, turning parts of the oceans into dead zones. This spring, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) revealed the number of such zones in the world seas has been doubling every
10 years, as pollution has increased.

Nearly 150 have now been identified – ranging from a third of a square mile to nearly 50,000 square miles. One of the biggest – the size of Scotland – is in the Gulf of Mexico, largely caused by pollution washing down the
Mississippi river. Others are in Chesapeake Bay, near Washington, the Black
Sea, the Baltic and the northern Adriatic.

UNEP says that the growth of these dead zones is becoming an even greater menace to the life of the sea than the overexploitation which is affecting three-quarters of the world’s fisheries.

Dr Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s executive director, says: “Humankind is engaged in a gigantic global experiment as a result of the inefficient and often overuse of fertilisers, the discharge of untreated sewage and the ever-rising emissions from vehicles and factories. “Unless urgent action is taken to tackle the sources of the problem, it is likely to escalate rapidly.”
16 May 2004 16:41

From: mritchie@iatp.org

OCEANIA
Australia

AUSTRALIA TO CREATE WORLD’S LARGEST MARINE RESERVE SYSTEM
The largest marine protected area in the world will also include the largest network of no-take areas. In late March, the Australian Parliament passed a bill to re-zone the multiple-use Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, setting aside one-third of the 344,000-square-kilometer park as off-limits to all extractive activity. In doing so, legislators
created a 115,000-square-kilometer network of no-take zones, representing all 70 marine bioregions throughout the park. The new no-take network will raise the no-take percentage of the park from its
current 4.7 percent to 33 percent–making it roughly the size of Bulgaria. The law takes effect July 1. To read the in-depth story and discussions with several key players in the process leading to this law, go to: washington.edu

—SOURCE: MPA News, volume 5, number 10, May 2004.

From: Michelle Wildes

LATIN AMERICA
COSTA RICA - Wetlands Under Threat
Fires and construction of drainage channels endanger protected lagoons.

The lagoons of the Ca?o Negro Wildlife Refuge, in northern Costa Rica, are usually populated in March with birds like the jabiru, the pink spoonbill and the wood stork. Nevertheless, the drainage channels that farmers in the area bordering the refuge have been constructing over the last seven years have been converted into veins of death that are quickly drying up this wetland of international importance protected since 1991 by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

lapress.org

From: Mike Shanahan

Mexico

Mangroves Illegally Losing To Development Pressures

The communication of the attached accusation, one or two of which arrive or touch our lives daily, confirms the alarming backwards progress that Mexico currently finds itself in the management of natural resources and the environment.
The weakening of the NOM-022-SEMARNAT (Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat)-2003, whose lobbying before SEMARNAT was urged and accompanied by developers without awareness of the Costa Cancun project (according to a document that you already know), is the written proof of the costly administrative environmental policy error that is before us.
Is it possible that we have leaders ignorant of the value of mangroves. Or might they be wooed by the siren songs of the World Bank, the IMF and the rest of the benefactors of humanity? Believe me that I don’t know. What I do know is that it is urgent and necessary to correct the course. Saludos. Marco Antonio.
The information contained in this message is the responsibility of the author. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the ideology of AVAC.

ECOCIDE IN MANGROVES OF THE MOUTH OF THE RIO VERACRUZ. AUTHORITIES DON’T RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND WASH THEIR HANDS.

Through this communication I am expressing my concern about the Ecocide of Mangroves in the estuaries of Boca del Rio Veracruz, caused by the construction activities of the subdivision “El Dorado” located at km 12 Veracruz – Cordoba Highway by the construction company Estero-Mandinga S.A. de C.V., owned by Veracruz businessman and magnate Valent?n Ruiz Ortiz. This ecocide was denounced and publicized to the general public in the local newspaper “Imagen de Veracruz” the 19th of April and has been followed to this day. For more information consult “Imagen de Veracruz” : www.imagendeveracruz.com.mx

The fishermen of this mangrove zone manifested their concern about the destruction of this area that represents their source of life and work, and that by destroying this ecosystem their economy would obviously be affected. The fishermen have also manifested their respect for nature that for generations has given them sustenance. According to the businessman Valetin Ruiz, he will establish a dialogue with the fisherman with the objective of compensating for the damage with economic aid to the fishermen, which actually appears that he intends to buy them off.

Mangroves not only provide natural riches but also are natural buffers preventing floods, functioning in a manner similar to tree canopies, reducing the velocity of strong winds. By the destruction of this natural richness we would risk a future of uncontrollable floods. They also serve as natural filters, cleansing the waters of rivers before they arrive at other marine ecosystems. Let’s remember that on several occasions nature has billed us for what we have taken irrationally.

These urbanization projects are accomplished thanks to the construction grants authorized by several municipal, state and federal authorities violating all the articles and norms of environmental protection; economic interests are put first in a corrupt and unlawful manner (nothing new in this country) and putting at risk an ecosystem in danger of extinction. So let me demonstrate by summary and in general terms how they could be violating principally the following environmental protection laws:

1) General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection: Agreement established in this law, only the Secretary (SEMARNAT) may grant permits for activities in mangrove lagunas, lakes and wetlands (art 28). The states and cities cannot give permission, nor make agreements with the federation to grant permits to undertake activities in wetlands, mangrove lakes and lagunas (art. 11, fracc III)

According to Councilman Luis Retolaza, the Representative Martin Vida?a and the Director of Environmental Planning of the city of Boca del Rio, Roberto Aguirre Cházaro, the construction company possesses state government permits (Coordination of Environment – SEDERE) and the Secretary of Environment (SEMARNAT).

So, explain to us: Why and how did they make these agreements to grant both permits? By law? For personal or institutional interests? Not for the ecosystem!

2) All of the environmental impact studies or evaluations should be available, as well as be published in the official state gazette. But since this case is in a coastal marine zone and of mangroves neither the state nor the city perform such evaluations, it is exclusively a federal responsibility and the Secretary’s task to perform all of the appropriate evaluations and manifestation of environmental impact as well as publish them in their ecological gazette. This is how it is described in articles 28-35, all the legal procedures that must be undertaken for an environmental impact evaluation and when and how to grant permits for activities that put in risk the ecological equilibrium

3) Mangroves are protected in agreement with the official norm NORMO-059-ECOL and other Ecological Norms such as NORM-022 which say as a protected species, activities that put the species in danger and/or species for whose survival it depends, are not allowed.

“So if it is not permitted due to protection of these ecosystems, Why give the license? (question to SEMARNAT)”

Therefore one supposes that here existed an abuse of authority and trafficking of influences by those at the city and state level who granted the change of land use, since in this case it falls on only the federal government to carry this out. But one also wonders if SEMARNAT knew and turned a blind eye or is it involved in permitting this ecological offense, or never knew at all (although one supposes that they gave permission), and if this secretary is disposed to intervene in this affair. Who is involved? What responsibility do the three levels of government have? Not to mention that the three levels of government belong to the same political party.

There is not much to discuss, it is clear that laws and norms exist that protect mangroves and coastal environments and these laws aren’t respected, the parties responsible for this occurrence must step forward. Now is the time to put a break on this type of activity and crimes committed against our natural resources, since they are not only national heritage, but universal. It is also the time for our society to involve itself in environmental problems that affect the quality of life, one must start the battle without rest against the ecological ignorance that exists in our society so that it doesn’t suffer these abuses.

I INVITE YOU TO STOP THIS ECOCIDE AND JOIN FORCES for the wellbeing of the environment and quality of human life. How you can help: talk about it with your neighbors, send several e-mails to your friends, the media, or institutions; if you are part of the media help us to publish it. To environmental and ecological institutions, your experts can give their opinion and form part of the civil denouncement.

***ACTION ALERT!!!***
For those interested in giving an opinion, denouncing, clarifying doubts or any type of protest, here are some organizations where it would be useful to give your opinion:

Secretar?a del Medio Ambiente (SEMARNAT)
Secretary of Environment

atencion.ciudadana@semarnat.gob.mx
Procuradur?a Federal De Protecci?n al Ambiente(PROFEPA):
pfpaweb@correo.profepa.gob.mx
Federal Attorney of Environmental Protection

Comisi?n Nacional De ?aacute;reas Naturales Protegidas:
National Commission of Protected Natural Areas

info@cnanp.gob.mx
Noticieros Televisa:
Television News

noticierostelevisa@esmas.com.mx,
HECHOS TV AZTECA
TV Azteca Facts/Events

tuopinion@tvazteca.com.mx
Comisi?n Intersecretarial para la Transparencia y Combate a la
Corrupci?n
anticorrupcion@funcionpublica.gob.mx
Intersecretarial Commission for Transparency and Combating Corruption

Comisi?n Nacional para el Conocimiento de la Biodiversidad.
National Commission for Biodiversity Knowledge

conabio@xolo.conabio.gob.mx
GREENPEACE MEXICO

greenpeace.mexico@mx.greenpeace.org
Cualquier ayuda es agradecida… ATT. Biol. Mario Pérez
Any help at all is appreciated

From: “Marco Antonio Rodriguez”

NORTH AMERICA
USA

US delays decision on shrimp duties
REUTERS, WASHINGTON

NewAge, May 21, 2004, Dhaka, Bangladesh

www.newagebd.com
The United States has delayed a decision on the size of proposed anti-dumping duties on shrimp from Latin America and Asia until July, a Commerce Department official said Wednesday.
The department now plans to make its preliminary ruling for the two “non-market economies” targeted in the case — Vietnam and China– by July 2, the official said. A decision on the other four countries– Thailand, Brazil, India, and Ecuador– has been delayed until July 28, the aide added.
Commerce had originally been scheduled to issue its preliminary rulings on June 8 but it is not unusual for the department to extend its deadlines in complicated cases.
Eddie Gordon, president of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said the delay would put more US shrimpers out of business.
“US shrimpers are paying 2004 costs, but are only receiving 1960s prices,” he said.
The shrimpers, who harvest their product from the sea, have asked for anti-dumping duties ranging from 30 per cent to over 200 per cent on imports of mostly pond-raised shrimp from the six countries, which total about $2.4 billion dollars.
They blame imports for a 33 per cent drop in the price paid for ocean shrimp in the United States between 2000 and 2002. That drop has put tens of thousands of shrimpers and deckhands out of work.
A coalition of US restaurateurs, grocers and seafood distributors has complained that the Commerce Department’s proposed method for comparing domestic and foreign shrimp prices could lead to greatly inflated anti-dumping duties.
Several US lawmakers have echoed that concern.
The Commerce Department, in an unpublished Federal Register notice obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, said the shrimp case “was extraordinarily complicated because of the number of firms involved and the complexity of the transactions and adjustments to be considered.”

From: Zakir Kibria

EUROPE
JUMBO SHRIMP PROBLEMS
Shrimp Farming Wreaks Eco-Destruction, Group Says

Shrimp farms are polluting land and oceans, destroying wetlands, and depleting wild fish stocks, wreaking environmental havoc on some of the world’s poorest countries, says the nonprofit Environmental Justice Foundation. The destruction is driven by a get-rich-quick
attitude among farmers and aided and abetted by governments and development organizations, said the group. Shrimp farms are frequently located in cleared mangrove forests, and the farming involves a harsh cocktail of antibiotics, fertilizers, herbicides, and other chemicals that pollute wetlands and soil. The EJF report
says governments and aid agencies use shrimp farming as a quick and easy way to spur development in poor countries — most of the 50 countries where the farms are located are developing — but they do not plan sufficiently to protect the environment.

straight to the source: BBC News, 19 May 2004

From: elaine@nnrg.org

STORIES/ISSUES
Taken from BBC New Online

Shrimp farms ‘harm poor nations’

Farmed shrimp account for about one-third of global consumption Growing consumer demand for shrimp is fuelling an environmental crisis in some of the world’s poorest nations, according to a new report.

The Environmental Justice Foundation claims it has exposed wide-ranging environmental damage that can be directly attributed to shrimp farming. It claims shrimp farming is destroying wetlands, polluting the land and oceans and depleting wild fish stocks.

Millions of people depend on the fish stocks for their food and livelihoods.

Steve Trent, director of EJF, said the environmental damage had occurred as a result of a “get-rich quick” attitude by shrimp farmers. He added that governments and development agencies were encouraging this behaviour.

Mangrove Destruction

“It is time for the seafood industry and governments to take a stand and end these abuses,” he commented. “To fail to do so will spell long-term disaster for some of the world’s poorest, marginalized coastal communities and for unique wildlife habitats.”

The EJF report claims that as much as 38% of global mangrove destruction is linked to shrimp farm development. Global mangrove deforestation rates now exceed those of tropical rainforests. The damage is being caused by pollution and by clearing of the vegetation to make way for new farms.

Chemical pollutants used in the process include antibiotics, fertilizers, disinfectants and pesticides, which could be harming human health as well as the environment, the report’s authors say. Salt water from the farms also seems to be changing the composition of local soils, they add.

Complicated issue

Shrimp farming can adversely affect wild fish stocks through pollution and destruction of wetlands, through unsustainable levels of by-catch during shrimp collection from the sea and through the introduction of diseases.

EJF says mangroves have been degraded by the industry

But Dr Janet Brown, a UK expert on shrimp farming from the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, cautioned about some of the report’s main points.

“The issue is very complicated. Shrimp farming is different in every country it’s carried out in,” she told BBC News Online.

“There’s actually no advantage for people to build shrimp farms in mangrove areas; they only do that because it’s common land that they can get hold of cheaply.” Dr Brown added that there were relatively few studies on the impacts of shrimp farming.

For example, one scientific study carried out in 1996 on the shrimp farming industry in Honduras found that there was more mangrove clearance due to burning of the wood for charcoal than to shrimp farming.

‘Lack of regulation’

The EJF report claims that export-orientated shrimp aquaculture has been promoted by aid agencies, financial organisations and governments as a path for developing countries to reach development targets and alleviate poverty…an issue that matters to developing nations

But the environmental group criticizes the lack of planning and regulation on these local industries.

Shrimp farming is worth $6.9bn (?3.8bn) at the farm gate and $50-60bn (?28-33bn) at the point of retail.

Shrimp are farmed in 50 countries, the vast majority of which are developing countries.

In 2000, the leading producers were Thailand, China, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Ecuador, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Mexico and Brazil. In 2001, the UK imported 83,196 tonnes of shrimp worth over ?353m.

From: Secretar?a-Redmanglar

—————————-

Conservation Efforts Need to Look Beyond Charismatic Species

A new article in the journal Nature seeks to change the way conservation efforts areconceived. Rather than focusing on single “charismatic” species like tigers or gorillas, say researchers Anthony Ives and Bradley Cardinale, conservation programs should focus on whole ecosystems. They support their contention with an
analysis of the way biological communities respond to stress — acid rain, say, or habitat destruction. Weaker or less adaptable species die out first, providing a short-term boost to their competitors (“compensation”). As the stress continues, however, compensation decreases and ecosystems collapse.

The fate of individual species, and the point at which compensation ceases and collapse begins, are too complex to predict, say the authors, and for that reason preserving ecosystems must be the focus. We can no longer focus on
individual species, says Cardinale, “because we have no idea what species may make the community resistant in the future; we would be prudent to conserve as many as we can.”

straight to the source: BBC News, Julianna Kettlewell, 13 May 2004

From: elaine@nnrg.org

—————————-

The Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD)

AID Environment, National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management/Rijksinstituut voor Kust en Zee (RIKZ), Coastal Zone Management Centre, the Netherlands.(2004). Integrated Marine and Coastal
Area Management (IMCAM) approaches for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity. Montreal, Canada: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. (CBD Technical Series no. 14).

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the first global agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, has three main goals:

the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of the components of biodiversity, and sharing the benefits arising from the commercial and other utilisation
of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.
The Conference of Parties of the CBD initiated work on five thematic work programmes, including marine and coastal biodiversity. The oceans cover 70 per cent of the planet’s surface area and marine and coastal
environments contain diverse habitats that support an abundance of marine life. Examples of marine and coastal communities include mangroves, coral reefs, sea grasses, algae, pelagic or open-ocean communities and deep-sea communities. A large percentage of the global
community is directly or indirectly dependent on coastal zones for their livelihood. In view of their common concern for the conservation and sustainable use
of marine and coastal biodiversity, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity agreed on a programme of action for marine issues,
focusing on integrated marine and coastal area management, the sustainable use of living resources, protected areas, mariculture and alien species.

Integrated marine and coastal area management approaches (such as IMCAM, ICM and ICZM) are recognised as the most effective tools for
implementing the CBD with respect to the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity. In spite of this common agreement, it is still a challenge to find the right balance between biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of its components. The relevance and applicability of existing IMCAM instruments for the implementation of the Convention has not been clarified. Existing IMCAM guidance documents and IMCAM practices often fail to take biodiversity considerations fully into account. The potential of ICZM for maintaining and enhancing marine biodiversity has yet to be realised.

The full report is available for download as PDF 408 Kb

For further information, please contact:
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
World Trade Centre 393 St. Jacques Street, suite 300
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9
Phone: 1 (514) 288 2220, Fax: 1 (514) 288 6588
E-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org,
Website: www.biodiv.org

From: “Ben Brown”

—————————-

* Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project/ Stop GE Trees Campaign +41-22-078-755-24-78 (Swiss mobile)
* Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project +1-802-482-2689 (U.S. office); +1-802-578-6980 (U.S. mobile)

Demand to the United Nations Forum on Forests:
Ban Genetically Engineered Trees
-Geneva, Switzerland-

Geneva, Switzerland–Global Justice Ecology Project and the Stop GE Trees Campaign, both based in the U.S., are working with organizations including The Corner House of the UK, The Union of Ecoforestry from Finland, and World Rainforest Movement of Uruguay, to pressure the United Nations to oppose the use of genetically engineered trees in carbon offset forestry plantations developed under the Kyoto Protocol, and to ban their commercial development. On 11 May petitions signed by renowned scientists such as Dr. David Suzuki, more than 160 organizations including The Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth International as well as over 1,500 individuals will be presented to the U.N. in Geneva backing these demands.

Anne Petermann, co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Chair of the Stop GE Trees Campaign along with Hannu Hyv?nen, Campaign Coordinator the Union of Ecoforestry of Finland will present on genetically engineered trees at a side event at the U.N. Forum on Forests in Geneva on 11 May. They will speak on the dangers of genetically engineered trees and present the petitions as well as statements from various organizations and scientists about the threats posed by genetically engineered trees.

“Carbon offset plantations that include genetically engineered trees will kill insects and wildlife, deplete soils and groundwater, and contaminate native forests with engineered pollen leading to forest health crises that worsen global warming, rather than alleviate it,” stated AnnePetermann of Global Justice Ecology Project and the Stop GE Trees Campaign. “It is imperative the U.N. insure genetically engineered trees are not used in carbon offset plantations and that they are banned from commercial development. Genetically engineered trees will only exacerbate the serious decline of our remaining native forests and forest dwelling peoples,” she continued.

With pressure from the U.S., the U.N. sponsored Ninth Conference of the Parties held in Milan, Italy last December, agreed to allow the use of genetically engineered trees in plantations developed for carbon sequestration as part of the Clean Development Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, despite the fact that the U.S. has rejected the Protocol. This agreement, reached over the objections of the European Union, opens the door for World Bank funding for development of genetically engineered trees in carbon offset plantations in the Global South through the Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund.

The U.N. Side Event on genetically engineered trees is scheduled to take place Tuesday 11 May from 1:15-2:25 PM (CEST) in Geneva. Place: Room XXII, Palais des Nations, Avenue de la Paix.

The Stop GE Trees Campaign includes the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Dogwood Alliance, Polaris Institute, Forest Stewards Guild, Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering, ForestEthics, Klamath-Siskyou Wildlands Center, WildLaw, and Global Justice Ecology Project.

For backgrounder on GE trees and carbon sequestration, “GE Trees and Global Warming: The Myth of Carbon Offset Forestry”:

From: Orin Langelle

—————————-

Overfishing Could Make Cod Extinct in 15 Years-WWF

GENEVA (Reuters) – Cod could be extinct within 15 years unless governments rein in fishing of the species, the environmental group World Wildlife Fund said Thursday.

“(The) global cod catch has suffered a 70 percent drop over the last 30 years, and if such a trend continues, the world’s cod stocks will disappear in 15 years,” the group said.

By 2002, the world’s annual cod catch had fallen to 890,000 tonnes from 3.1 million tonnes in 1970. In the Arctic Barents Sea, which accounts for around half of the world’s annual catch, the situation is not as reassuring as is often depicted, it added in a statement.

In a report “The Barents Sea Cod,” the environmental group said fish quotas in those Arctic waters for 2004 are 100,000 tonnes over what is considered sustainable by scientists and a further100,000 tonnes are caught illegally.

It called on Russia and Norway, which jointly manage Barents Sea fishing, to set stricter cod quotas and to implement tighter controls on all fishing activities there.

“Only sound management … by Russian and Norwegian governments will ensure the long sustainability of the world’s largest cod stock,” it warned.

From Martin Keeley mangrove@candw.ky

—————————-

SALMON REFUGE ESTABLISHED ON KAMCHATKA
Wild Salmon Center Leads Effort to Save One of Pacific’s Most Productive Salmon Rivers

Portland, Oregon – Governor Mashkovtsev of the Kamchatka Oblast (Regional) Administration signed a decree authorizing a 544,000 acre, headwaters-to-ocean, salmon refuge located along the southwest side of
Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Wild Salmon Center identified the Kol River Salmon
Refuge as significant because it contains all six native Pacific salmon species: chinook, coho, sockeye, chum, pink, and Asian masu salmon, as well as steelhead, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char, and white-spotted char.

“The Kol may be the first whole-river refuge created specifically to protect wild salmon and their environment,” states Wild Salmon Center President, Guido Rahr. “This refuge will serve as the centerpiece to an international, cooperative, conservation effort between the Wild Salmon Center, the Kamchatka Wild Fishes and Biodiversity Foundation (WFBF), the UNDP, Moscow
State University (MGU) and our other Russian partners. We’ve been working together for over five years to save this amazing place.”

The territory of the Kol River Salmon Refuge includes no human settlements and is extremely productive, with annual runs of over five million fish. Besides salmon, the refuge will safeguard Kamchatka brown bears, snow sheep, Steller’s sea eagles, vast tracts of waterfowl habitat, and dozens of other species that rely on an ecosystem supported by the salmon lifecycle….

From: mzwirn@wildsalmoncenter.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Ocean Day — June 8th!
Check out
www.WorldOceanDay.org

From: Michelle Wildes

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
May 18, 2004.

International Workshop on Collective Strategies for Conservation and Livelihood Sustenance

An International Workshop on Livelihood Sustenance in the Impact Zone of the Sundarban in both Bangladesh and India will be held at the CSS Auditorium, Nutan Bazar, Rupsha Strand Road, Khulna during 19-20 May, 2004.

Two studies on Livelihood issues in the hinterland of the Sundarban were conducted, one in each portion of the Sundarban. In West Bengal the study was conducted by the ‘Sundarban Chetana O Adhikar Mancha’, while in the Bangladesh portion the study titled ‘Livelihood in the Sundarban : Bangladesh Scenario’, was conducted by the NGO Network SBCP Watch Group. The studies were supported by Action Aid India and Action Bangladesh respectively..

It is on the basis of these studies that a two-day workshop is being held in Khulna on ‘Collective Strategies for Conservation and Livelihood Sustenance in the Sundarbans’ during May 19-20. The scope of the workshop will be to develop a regional plan of action to address conservation and people’s livelihoods in the Sundarban that spans both India and Bangladesh. This workshop is being co-organised by Action Aid Bangladesh, Action Aid India and Action Aid Asia.

Participants in the workshop are expected from India, Dhaka, various parts of the Sundarban Impact Zone in the Khulna region, Bangkok and The Philippines.

From: Ashraf-Ul-Alal Tutu cdp@khulna.bangla.net

—————————-

New Publication on Mangroves of the Philippines

Handbook of Mangroves In the Philipppines-Panay

By JH Primavera, RB Sadaba, MJHL Lebata, JP Altamirano.
This book was written by experts from the SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department andUniversity of the Philippines in the Visayas.

This user friendly guide is for local communities, NGOs, students, teachers and researchers. With it, you can identify 35 species of Philippine mangroves base on plant morphology (shape, color, texture, size) and biology and ecology (substrate, intertidal level, reproductive season)

120 pages, numerous full color photo, laminated cover (ideal for field use), hany size (8 1/2 x 14 1/2 cm)

6 chapters: Introduction
Importance of Mangroves
Decline and Legislation
Conservation
Mangrove-Friendly Aquaculture
Rehabilitation
Plus: References, Glossary, Index to Names

This beautifully designed book is available for ordering by sending US$30, which includes handling and postage, to Sales and Circulation
SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department
Tigbauan, Iloilo 5021, Philippines
e-mail: sales@aqd.seafdec.org.ph

—————————-

The Publication of a New Book– “Mining. Social and Environmental Impacts.”

Mining is an activity rarely associated with deforestation and forest degradation. Nor is it usually associated with wars, dictatorships and violation of human rights, and even less with the worsening of poverty and social inequity. On the contrary, mining is presented as the paradigm of wealth (in particular when dealing with gold and diamond mining), while its marketing conceals its terrible social and environmental consequences.

However, mining is responsible for such impacts and many others, making it one of the most depredatory activities in the world.

For these reasons, it has seemed important to give people a tool to enable them to better understand the various aspects of mining activities in relation to social and environmental issues, as a way of encouraging the
adoption of an informed position on this issue, leading to a well-founded opposition to face those who present it as a positive activity for the development of the countries of the South.

We hope that this book will serve as a tool to support local struggles against mining, to generate awareness on the issue and to strengthen campaigns against this type of activity ending in the destruction and degradation of wide forest areas and of local livelihoods and cultures.

Non Governmental Organizations and Indigenous Peoples Organizations can ask for a free copy of the book. To do so, please contact WRM International Secretariat at: bookswrm@wrm.org.uy and send your postal
address (please include detailed information).

For other organizations or institutions its cost is US$ 10 (shipment included). You can either send a cheque (against a U.S bank) payable to: “Fundaci?n Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques Tropicales” to the following
address:

Maldonado 1858, CP 11200
Montevideo – URUGUAY (South America)

From: Teresa Perez

AQUACULTURE CORNER
May 9, 2004
Shift on Salmon Re-ignites Fight on Species Law

By TIMOTHY EGAN
SEATTLE, May 8 — Three years ago, Mark C. Rutzick was the timber industry’s top lawyer trying to overturn fish and wildlife protections that loggers viewed as overly restrictive. Back then, he outlined to his clients a new strategy for dealing with diminishing salmon runs. By counting hatchery fish along with wild salmon, the government would help the timber industry by getting salmon off the endangered species list, Mr. Rutzick wrote.

Now, as a high-ranking political appointee in the Bush administration who is a legal adviser to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Mr. Rutzick is helping to shape government policy on endangered Pacific salmon. And in an abrupt change, the Bush administration has decided for the first time to consider counting fish raised in hatcheries when determining if some species are going extinct.

The new plan, which officials have said is expected to be formally announced at the end of the month, closely follows the position that Mr. Rutzick advocated when he represented the timber industry.

Mr. Rutzick, a Portland lawyer who was suggested for the fisheries job by Senator Gordon H. Smith, Republican of Oregon, would not comment on his role in shaping government salmon policy. Officials at the fisheries service say Mr. Rutzick was part of a working group that shaped the new plan, but would not give further details.

The policy shift has caused a furor among some members of the scientific community and has touched off a fresh battle over what may be the nation’s most powerful environmental law.

To most biologists, salmon that are born and raised in a cement tank are no replacement for wild fish, even if they share a common genetic makeup. The new approach, which was contained in a single-page draft, dated March 25 and leaked to reporters last month, ignores the findings of the Bush administration’s own panel of outside scientific experts, as well as long-held views within the fisheries service.

These biologists say that including hatchery salmon in the calculation for when a fish can be listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act is akin to counting animals in a zoo. By this reasoning, river or forest habitats of a rare species will never be protected, so long as theanimal can be reproduced by artificial means.

“This is a direct political decision, made by political people to go against the science,” said Dr. Ransom A. Myers, a fisheries biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, who was on the six-member panel named by the fisheries service to guide salmon policy. The panel’s recommendations were rejected for a policy more favorable to industry groups fighting land restrictions, Dr. Myers and other panel members have said.

Bush administration officials say they are boxed in by a court decision that forces them to include hatchery fish in deciding the fate of a particular run of salmon. They say the scientists inside and outside the agency have overstepped their expertise, and are trying to write policy.

“You have an interaction between science and the law here,” said Jim Lecky, a government adviser who speaks for the fisheries service, which is a branch of the Commerce Department. “We don’t treat hatchery fish the same as wild salmon. But we do have to consider them.”

“I think you have a tremendous internal debate” within the fisheries agency, said Russ Brooks, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which successfully sued the government to force a reconsideration of how it uses hatchery fish. The foundation is financed by developers, timber and agricultural interests angered by what they see as regulatory zealotry.

“Initially, the environmental side was winning out,” Mr. Brooks said. “And now you have the other side coming to the fore.”

Mr. Brooks said he met with Mr. Rutzick in Washington in late March, about the same time the new policy memorandum was drafted.

Asked about Mr. Rutzick’s role in shaping the plan, Mr. Brooks said, “Well, he’s very familiar with the issues and from what I understand he has a lot of influence.”

As a lawyer for the timber industry, Mr. Rutzick wrote a memorandum in November 2001 praising the use of hatchery fish to restore overall salmon runs, after the court decision forced a rethinking of policy. The old approach, of trying to protect the habitat of wild species, was not working, he wrote. He favored a new approach, directing the fisheries service “to use hatchery fish more aggressively to restore salmon runs.” This would “benefit
timber-dependent communities and industries,” he wrote, and it would help salmon.

“Experts think this will bring the runs back sooner and in greater numbers,” he wrote. Asked to comment on Mr. Rutzick’s statement about the use of artificially created fish as a way to quickly restore salmon runs, Dr. Myers said, “No credible scientist believes this.”

With more than a hundred hatcheries in the Northwest, fish managers have been able to turn out millions of salmon in concrete pools and to release them into rivers. The fish return to their hatchery birthing grounds to spawn and are stripped of their eggs, which are used to replenish the fish population. But after more than a century of human-induced production, wild salmon runs have diminished, with 26 species listed as threatened or endangered with becoming extinct.

To protect the habitat of these wild fish — which many biologists say are superior to hatchery fish, with more genetic diversity — the government has put restrictions on logging and development along streams from Southern California to Washington. Private property groups have sued to overturn these protections, saying it costs them millions of dollars.

In the 2000 election, property rights, agriculture and timber interest
groups gave nearly $1 million to the Bush campaign. And although the laws that protect fish and forests have not been changed, the way they are enforced has been. Critics say the administration conducts its land policy by settling lawsuits with groups that oppose environmental laws.

Federal officials agree that the change in course is a response to a
successful lawsuit filed by property rights groups. In that suit, decided in September 2001, a federal judge in Oregon, Michael R. Hogan, said the government method of treating hatchery and wild fish differently was unlawful.

But the judge did not tell fisheries officials how to determine if a species was endangered. He ordered the fisheries agency to “consider the best available scientific evidence” in coming up with a new policy.

The fisheries service hired an outside panel to guide it. Among the
responsibilities of the scientists, according to the fisheries service
guidelines, was to “ensure that well accepted and consistent ecological evolutionary principles form the basis for all recovery efforts.”

Inside the fisheries service, the same approach was taken. In a policy draft issued 10 months after the court decision, the fisheries service still ndicated that counting hatchery fish was no way to judge the health of wild salmon.

The law, they wrote in July 2002, requires the service to list a species as endangered or threatened “based on whether they are likely to be self-sustaining in their native ecosystem.”

Mr. Rutzick was appointed early last year, and his duties included shaping policy on the fate of the 26 threatened or endangered salmon runs. It is the biggest legal issue facing the fisheries service and affects millions of acres of land and rivers along the coast.

When the outside experts reported their findings, they were censored, they said. They went public and had their conclusions published in the journal Science.

“We should not open the legal door to maintaining salmon only in
hatcheries,” the panel’s chairman, Dr. Robert Paine, an ecologist at the University of Washington, said in a statement in late March. “The science is clear and unambiguous — as they are currently operated, hatcheries and hatchery fish cannot protect wild stocks.”

Some conservation groups, which have long looked on the fisheries service as an ally, say they feel betrayed by the proposed change.

“The Endangered Species Act doesn’t say: protect museum pieces in a zoo,” said Chris Wood, vice president for conservation at Trout Unlimited. “Hatchery fish are genetically inferior to wild fish. Find me the peer review paper that says otherwise.”

Mr. Brooks, the lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, said
environmentalists were overreacting.

“The sky is not falling,” he said. “The devil is still in the details. And
this is not to say that they will do away with everything, because there will still be very stringent restrictions by the state.”

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | Help | Back to Top

From: mritchie@iatp.org

Late Friday News, 137th Ed., 8 May 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 137th Edition of the Late Friday News.

Please respond to the Action Alerts in this newsletter. We need your help in ensuring our voices are heard.

In US history, during the American Revolution against the British in 1776, the colonial revolutionaries who bore arms against the British were often called the “Minute Men”, because they could be prepared to go into battle on a minute’s notice. In a sense, we too must be able to form these instantaneous “militias” to take on the invasive, unsustainable developments as they arise!!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This newsletter is brought to you for free, but PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Check our website for details or contact: mangroveap@olympus.net

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 137th Edition, 8 May 2004
FEATURE STORY
Boycott the 37th Annual Meeting of the ADB
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

MAP WORKS
Preparing For In the Hands of the Fishers Workshop #10
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour in Mexico
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours Thailand

AFRICA
Nigeria
Niger Delta Mangroves Imperiled By Development

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand
Seahorse population has declined sharply
Senior official transferred amid encroachment row with Amari

Indonesia
S. ASIA
India
Sahara’s flawed ‘ecotourism’ plans for the Sundarbans
***ACTION ALERT!!!***
Kerala Mangroves

Bangladesh
Lack of Respect Shown To Local Grassroots NGOs and Communities
Shrimp businessmen urged to uphold labour rights
Outlaws raid Satkhira shrimp enclosures
Planned shrimp enclosure protested

OCEANIA
Australia
AUSTRALIAN OCEANS CONFERENCE WARNED OF RISING SEA LEVELS

S,Pacific
Taboos could save the seas
Fiji: Subsistence fishing ‘threatens Fiji’s coral reefs’

LATIN AMERICA
Mexico
Restoration and Conservation Seminar
Panama

CARIBBEAN
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN THE CARIBBEAN

NORTH AMERICA
USA
Group alleges health risks from farm-raised shrimp
Testing shrimp caught in Florida waters
Virus – Stricken Shrimp Concerns Hawaii

EUROPE
Europe Big Importer of Shrimp Today

STORIES/ISSUES
Some B.C. fisheries targeted by groups

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Environment Day Highlights Shrimp Farm and Trawler Issues

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
International Workshop on PEATLAND CONSERVATION,
Blue Frontier Conference

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Homalco First Nation Rejects Aquaculture
Aquaculture leaders told to get tough with unfair critics
The Bluewater Revolution (Ushers In Robots)
Fish-farm firm accused of violating pesticide law

AROUND THE CORNER
Importance of Salt Flats Behind Mangroves
LFN Serves Its Purpose Well!

FEATURE STORY
May 1, 2004

Boycott the 37th Annual Meeting of the ADB

“A BETRAYAL OF ASIA AND THE PACIFC”

The NGO Forum on the ADB calls on all civil society organisations and activists to participate in a month of protest against the disastrous consequences of the policies and projects of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). We also call upon civil society organisations and representatives to refrain from participating in the 37th Annual General Meeting of the ADB, on 15-17 May 2004, Jeju Island, Republic of Korea as part of this protest.

For nearly four decades, the ADB has created poverty in Asia through irresponsible project and program lending. Its continued focus on mega infrastructure projects, rent seeking investments, and privatization of water and power reflect its prioritization of narrow corporate, financial and elite interests over the concerns of the majority, especially the poor. The ADB’s reckless promotion of economic models that benefit elites rather than common people has placed an unsustainable debt burden on the peoples and communities of Asia and the Pacific. Given that the major architects and beneficiaries of ADB projects and programmes are Japan, the United States (US) and Europe, ADB operations are tantamount to a betrayal of the people of the Asia-Pacific region.

It is time to say enough is enough.

The selection of the remote island of Jeju, South Korea, as the venue for the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a highly inappropriate choice for a meeting of this magnitude. The expense of travel rules out civil society participation, even for Korean civil society. Jeju is the latest in a long line of remote and expensive venues for the ADB’s AGM, which have included places such as Honolulu in the US and Nice in France. The choice of Jeju as the venue for the 2004 AGM indicates that the ADB cares little for broad civil society participation and largely ignores its own claim that “interaction with NGOs is essential to [ADB's] effective operations”.If the ADB were serious about this goal, it would do everything in its power to ensure that the AGM is held in accessible venues.

Civil Society Organizations demand that the ADB be held accountable for the consequences of its lending. The ADB claims to agree in principle with this statement, but views accountability only in terms of compliance to its own operational policies for safeguard, governance and quality. While such a view of accountability is extremely limited, experience has repeatedly shown that the ADB is incapable of living up to even this narrow concept.

We demand that the ADB commission independent monitoring and evaluation of its projects. While the Evaluations Department of the ADB has recently been given some degree of autonomy, this does not constitute independence. We also demand that the ADB change its system of staff incentives to stop rewarding those who can most effectively have loans approved (currently the most common way for a Bank to measure success) and start rewarding those who work to ensure ADB compliance with its operational policies.

While the ADB recognizes official corruption as a major impediment to sustainable and equitable development, it has continued lending on a large scale to governments that have a limited capacity to utilize funds. The governments do not want their aid flows to decrease; the ADB does not want its lending levels to decrease. This scenario is an open invitation to corruption.

We demand that the ADB enforce its policy of “zero tolerance” towards corruption by conducting an independent audit of all its operations. The ADB must take steps to ensure that money lent to the public purse is not diverted to private pockets.

Despite ADB’s lip service to the benefits of transparency, stakeholders are still often denied access to information while ADB projects impact their lives and livelihoods with impunity. We demand that all stakeholders have access to project related documents in local languages. We further demand that all documents submitted to the Board of the ADB be in the public domain, and that Board meetings and transcripts be open to the public.

We call on Civil Society from around the world to express their solidarity with the peoples of Asia by joining in the AGM boycott. We further call on groups to express their outrage at the ADB’s policies of plunder by arranging demonstrations, letter writing campaigns and other activities of protest during the month of May.

To Sign On to this Statement, please send the following information to Jessica Rosien jrosien@pacific.net.ph at the Forum secretariat by May 10.

Additional papers are available at this site, and we are soliciting other papers for inclusion on the site for general availability.

Please respond to LESRRL3@AOL.COM ROBIN LEWIS

A Redmond, WA, (USA) company whose owner was once sentenced to prison for illegally selling chemicals has been accused of more than 300 new violations of pesticide-handling laws.

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking up to $1.7 million in civil fines against Redmond’s Argent Chemical Laboratories, which manufactures and sells products for fish-farming operations around the world.

In one of the largest cases of its kind, the EPA says that, between 1999 and this year, the company made hundreds of sales of unregistered chemicals for use in rivers and streams, sold chemicals without proper warning labels and sold particularly hazardous chemicals to people not legally trained to use them.

One of those pesticides – rotenone, commonly used to eliminate unwanted fish – can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled, and can kill every form of life in a waterway if used improperly. Sales of rotenone are restricted by law to certified applicators.

But EPA officials said they tracked sales by Argent to uncertified homeowners on Bainbridge Island, in Seattle and in Miami. Another 55-pound bag was shipped, unlabeled, to a resort in Hawaii, where testing revealed rotenone concentrations 30 percent higher than the purchaser expected.

“This is a serious case,” said Richard Parkin, acting manager of EPA’s pesticides unit. “We have a repeat violator, now again out of compliance. What’s going on here is egregious.”

It marks the third time since the late 1980s that the EPA has accused Argent of mishandling pesticides.

In 1988, the company was fined $70,000 and faced criminal charges for lying to the EPA and the federal Food and Drug Administration. Its two executive officers, Eliot Lieberman and Beatriz Shanahan, were charged individually in the case….

From: Lynn Hunter

MAP WORKS
Preparing For In the Hands of the Fishers Workshop #10

As part of a community development scheme in conjunction with IHOF #10, MAP and The Asian Regional Cookstove Program (ARECOP) organized a 4 day workshop on building, using and commercialization of improved cookstoves in the villages of Kuala Indah and Gombus Laut, North Sumatra. These two villages will host IHOF #10.

The final report and photos of the improved cookstove workshop are being compiled, but as a preliminary report the activity was very successful. About 25 fisherfolk participated in the 4 day event, along with representatives from 4 local NGO’s. The village heads of both villages and their wives also joined in and were among the most enthusiastic participants, which bodes well for the future spread of improved cookstoves in the region.

The group designed and built several models of improved cookstoves for home use and also large size palm sugar cookstove which was built adjacent to the new Coastal Community Resource Center in Kuala Indah which, if all goes well, will be used during the IHOF workshop to demonstrate how to make palm sugar from Nypah palm. The palm sugar stove design had to be altered to meet local conditions where tidal waters sometimes flood the land under the CCRC, so like the CCRC, the cookstove was built on a raised platform. Indeed a fine example of adapting an appropriate technology to meet local needs, should be a good model for other fishing villages tofollow.

The participants themselves along with a villager from the Mountain region of North Sumatra (who has been working with improved cookstoves for several years now) will also give a half day demonstration on improved cookstoves at the IHOF workshop.

Also some new partnerships emerged. JALA and P3MN, the host NGO’s for the IHOF #10 were impressed with the improved cookstove program and will partner with ARECOP in the future to continue promoting the switch to improved cookstoves amongst their fisherfolk constituents. Another NGO, Yayasan Bina Insani, who has been active for several years implementing improved cookstove programs in the mountain regions of North Sumatera is committed to increasing their service area to include coastal communities of North Sumatra. Bina Insani, JALA and P3MN will work together in this effort.

This pre-IHOF activity was valuable in other ways as well. It gave organizers a chance to practice hosting a workshop in the two villages and pointed out some logistical flaws. The biggest problem was transportation between the two villages, which often-times delayed the workshop. We will come up with a better strategy for transporting IHOF participants between the two villages.

We are all eagerly awaiting the IHOF itself, but things are off to a good start, with both a completed Coastal Community Resource Center, and a successful pre-IHOF workshop under our belts.

From: “Ben Brown”

————————————

New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at:mangroverestoration.com

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com.

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp. (PDF document)

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

=====
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

————————————

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. groundsforchange

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

————————————

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conserve mangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience. www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for late August/ early September 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact
info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

Niger Delta Mangroves Imperiled By Development

In the 1900′s, Nigeria mangrove area was estimated at about 10,515km2, which formed 5.8 % of the world’s total mangrove area, and the largest in Africa. Nigerian rank third among eight countries with very large mangrove reserves, behind Indonesia, Brazil, and fourth Australia. Unfortunately, Nigeria is the only country among the eight without any gazetted mangrove- protected area’s nor any restoration/rehabilitation project on the ground.
OUR DISAPPEARING MANGROVES:
Any natural resources whose exploitation is not regulated is unlikely to be sustainable in the long run. It is amazing to realize the subtle but sure loss of mangrove forest and its biocoenosis, and the bitterly poor attention( or even total lack of it) paid to this problem by the authorities.
Recently we conducted a survey along the coast of the Cross River Estuary. Our observation was that new settlements are springing up rapidly on the coastline. This development stems from the high unemployment rate in Nigeria, and as an open access resource, many people revert to fishingas an employment of the last resort.
Sixty eight settlement were so far recorded( with sizes ranging from 20 m2 for small temporary huts to 150-200 m2 for settlement of a permanent nature). Now, each of these settlements represents an equivalent areal loss of mangrove forest in the first instance. Additional losses definitely result from continuos exploitation of mangrove for fish smoke-drying, fuel wood, embankment, gear and paddle construction . hence, mangrove deforestation was highest near larger settlements.
If we include mangrove loss due to other human activities, mainly oil exploration, then the loss is tremendous.
We therefore call for urgent action in the area of mangrove restoration projects in the Niger Delta Region.
( A Contribution Of The” Coastal Life Initiatives” an NGO devoted to the restoration of life in the Niger Delta.)

From Edet Akpan

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand

Bangkok Post April 28, 2004

Seahorse population has declined sharply

Destructive gear mainly to blame

Kultida Samabuddhi

The seahorse population in Thai waters has
dropped by 50% in the past decade due to growing demand for traditional medicines and aquarium pets, increasing sea pollution and use of destructive fishing gear, said a senior fisheries official yesterday.

In a bid to preserve the species, the Fisheries
Department will for the first time regulate the
export of dried seahorses and implement
conservation programmes.

The conservation programmes will include
crackdowns on destructive fishing gear and
research studies on seahorse breeding, said
Samruay Meenakarn, head of the Fisheries,
“Thai seahorse traders will no longer be able to carry on their business as they like, because movement documents issued by the department will be required for all exported and imported shipments of dried seahorses,” he said.

All 32 seahorse species are now included in
Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), which lists species facing extinction due to the absence of trade control measures.

Mr Samruay said Thailand is one of the largest exporters of dried seahorses, shipping out about 10-15 tonnes each year. Other major exporters are India, Indonesia, the Phililppines and Vietnam. The main importers of dried seahorses are China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, wherethey are the main ingredients in traditional medicines.

Mr Samruay said seahorses were caught mainly by fishing trawlers. “It is impossible to ban seahorse catching because they are by-products of fishing practices,” he said. He admitted the Fisheries Department’s failure to
crack down on destructive fishing gear, particularly push nets, contributed to the sharp decline in the population of seahorses in Thai waters.

“In fact, there are not many sea horses left in
Thai waters now. Most of the supplies come from Indonesian waters, a popular fishing ground for Thai fishermen,” he said.

From: Mike Shanahan mikeshanahan@yahoo.com

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Bangkok Post Friday April 30, 2004

CHAO MAI NATIONAL MARINE PARK

Senior official transferred amid encroachment row with Amari

Kultida Samabuddhi

The chief of Chao Mai National Marine Park in Trang has been removed from his post as a result of his stringent crackdown on alleged encroachers, which include a major hotel chain.

Prayoon Srisuwan, who was transferred to Khao Luang National Park in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, said his removal was backed by MPs, local politicians and senior provincial officials who had vested interests in businesses located within the park.

Mr Prayoon had filed charges against 60 alleged encroachers, for trespassing on about 1,200 rai of the park, since early last year. Charges were currently being prepared against the five-star Amari Trang Beach Resort, for allegedly encroaching on 70 rai of park land in Sikao district.

“I was determined to do everything possible to reclaim the park land from JBB Co, the hotel owner. However, with the transfer order, I no longer have a chance to do so,” he said.

Mr Prayoon said his transfer was unfair and would discourage park chiefs from battling exploitation of the country’s natural resources.

The 500-million-baht Amari resort was located on Changlang beach, a pristine coastal area close to nesting grounds of protected sea turtles. It opened to guests in November.

National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department deputy director-general Vichit Pattanakosai said Mr Prayoon had been removed to ease conflicts with villagers, local politicians and provincial officials who complained the park chief was too aggressive in his crackdown.

However, Mr Vichit fully supported Mr Prayoon’s actions, saying his agency could prove the hotel’s title deed was obtained illegally.

“My department informed the Trang provincial governor of the Amari hotel’s unlawful land acquisition three months ago, but the report has been ignored by the governor, who chairs a committee aimed at tackling land encroachment,” he said.

The governor, Nares Chitsutjaritwong, argued neither the National Park nor Land departments could prove the hotel was trespassing on a protected area.

Mr Nares welcomed the removal of Mr Prayoon, saying his strict enforcement of regulations had been harmful to the local tourism industry.

JBB managing director Thira Thiragirayuta said the Amari complex would oppose any order to seize its land.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”

—————————————-

S. ASIA

India

Sahara’s flawed ‘ecotourism’ plans for the Sundarbans

The fragile mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans, in the Ganges delta, could soon be witnessing the development of a massive tourism project, proposed by the conglomerate, Sahara India Pariwar.

The Sundarbans, as both a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, is one of the world’s most outstanding wilderness areas. It contains the largest contiguous population of the tiger, estimated at 245 in the Tiger Reserve alone, as well as providing an ideal habitat for many marine and terrestrial species and sustaining the livelihoods of thousands of people with its important fisheries.

Under the guise of ‘ecotourism’, the Sahara group plan to make the region a “great, grand, global destination” with a project worth over US$155 million and spread over 303.5 hectares of land on a number of islands. The plans include the construction of 5 star floating hotels, high speed boathouses, hovercraft and helipad facilities, a golf course, floating casino, a “beautiful virgin beach” and even a tiger and crocodile breeding centre.

Whilst the exact location of the proposed project in relation to the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve has not been made clear either by the Sahara Group or the West Bengal government there are fears that the development will be at an unacceptably close distance to the boundary of the buffer zone of the Tiger Reserve.

The likely disturbance to the tiger reserve from a development of this nature in close proximity to it could potentially be immense and includes the threat of noise and light pollution, increased vehicle traffic, disturbance of prey species and increased access to the area for poachers. There is of course also the increased threat of human-tiger conflict with an increase in visitors and workers to the area surrounding the tiger reserve, it should be noted that human-tiger conflict is already a serious matter in the Sundarbans.

Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT), a UK initiative aimed at promoting responsible tourism to areas of tiger habitat in India, have expressed concern at the misuse of the term ecotourism by the Sahara Group in this context. “A development of this magnitude would potentially have dire consequences for the delicate mangrove ecology of the Sundarbans region which could have a disastrous impact on the tiger population of the area and also have serious implications for local communities. Misuse of the term ‘ecotourism’ in this way could tarnish the way in which responsible operators are seen and could hamper real efforts at developing a sustainable tourismindustry in India for people that wish to see tigers in their natural surroundings”, says Julian Matthews of TOFT.

Along with the potential threat that is being faced by the tiger population the effect of the development on local communities could also be immense. The National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), which is opposed to the Sahara Group’s plans, has serious concerns about the project and the scant information provided by the Sahara Group regarding the development has not assuaged the fears of the local fishing communities nor the NFF.

Harekrishna Debnath, Chairperson of the NFF has said that; “we are opposed to any project that would damage the mangrove ecology of the Sundarbans and adversely affect the culture and livelihoods of the local communities. The NFF believes that should this project go ahead the local fishing communities will have their livelihoods and culture destroyed.”

In the true sense of the word ‘ecotourism’ represents an approach to tourism that is ecologically and socially sustainable. Well-managed ecotourism operations tend to be small-scale, involve the meaningful participation of local communities and generate significant benefits in the long-term, such as increased employment opportunities, a more diverse local economy and increased funds for conservation measures.

The Sahara group’s plans demonstrate a prime example of the irresponsible use of the term ‘ecotourism’. From the limited available information from the Sahara group’s website, EIA has serious concerns for the environmental and social implications of the project. Deterioration of the mangrove habitat, already threatened by shrimp aquaculture and encroachment, would be worsened by the development of waterways and increased pollution from greater tourist traffic. Disturbance to wildlife could alter natural breeding behaviour and reduce the chance of survival for threatened populations of endangered species such as the tiger. The possible relocation of fishworkers from islands would pose unacceptable social costs and certainly not be in keeping with the principles of ecotourism.

The Head of EIA’s Tiger Campaign, Debbie Banks expressed alarm over the proposals, “Responsible tourism can play a role in tiger conservation as well as being a potential means of poverty alleviation for local communities. The Sahara group is trying to wriggle into the consciousness of the wildlife tourist whilst only thinking of their own profit margins”.

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Please help EIA to oppose Sahara’s plans by writing to the following people to express your concerns. A sample letter is included.

Dear xxxx,

DATE

Re: Sundarbans megatourism proposals by the Sahara group of companies

I am writing to express my concerns about the plans for megatourism in the Sundarbans. I believe that this project could have very damaging implications for the ecologically fragile mangrove swamps and local people, whilst further threatening India’s largest population of tigers and compromising conservation efforts to save this endangered species.

As a tourist, I want to experience undisturbed natural areas in a responsible manner, which has minimal impact on the environment and local people. I do not believe that the Sahara group’s tourism proposals for the Sundarbans are responsible and so would not wish to patronise such a project. I hope that the project does not receive government endorsement and that you will do all in your power to make sure it does not go ahead.

Yours sincerely,

YOUR NAME

Please send letters and/or emails to any or all of the following. EIA would appreciate it if you could inform us of any response that you receive as a result of your correspondance.

Sri Ramesh Bais
Minister of Environment and Forests
Government of India
Paryavaran Bhavan
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi 110 003
INDIA
[ Email: mef@menf.delhi.nic.in ]

Sri Jagmohan
Minister of Tourism
Government of India
Transport Bhavan
Parliament Street
New Delhi 110 001
INDIA

Sri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
Chief Minister
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings
Kolkata – 700001
INDIA
[ Email: cm@wb.gov.in ]

Sri Manabendra Mukherjee,
Minister of Environment
Department of Environment
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings
Kolkata – 700001
INDIA
[ Email: mic-it@wb.nic.in

Sri Jogesh Chandra Barman
Minister of Forests
Forest Department
Government of West Bengal
Writers' Buildings
Kolkata - 700001
INDIA
[Email: micforest@wb.gov.in ]

Sri Dinesh Chandra Dakua
Minister of Tourism
Department of Tourism
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings
Kolkata – 700001
INDIA
[Email: mictourism@wb.gov.in ]

Sri Subrata Roy
Chairman and Managing Worker
Sahara India Pariwar
PO Box 2
Gomti Nagar
Lucknow – 10 (U.P.)
INDIA
[Email: info@saharaindiapariwar.org ]

From: “Nick Mole” nickmole@eia-international.org

————————————

Kerala Mangroves

I am from India residing in Kannur District of Kerala State. Once upon a time ( in 1600s ) the state of Kerala had 700 sq. km. of mangrove forest all along the coastal length of 600 km. (according to Van Rheed, a deutch botanist ). Now it is dwindled to 17 sq.km. and most part of the mangroves of Kerala is now existing in our place namely Kannur District (A total of 755 hactares only). This figure is not steady. Day by day or within hours the destruction is continuing.
Reclamation of the land is done for constructing Shrimp culture farm, Hospitals and Bar Hotels. Many of the migratory birds visiting our place in winter season coming from Siberia and Himalaya are now considerably reduced.
Even though there are laws under Environmental Protection Act of India Goverment in which Mangroves are included under Coastal Regulation Zone I, the laws are not implemented against the criminals due to their political influence.
The main defect is that 80% of the Mangrove land are under private ownership. So please ask the Minister of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Chief Minister, Government of Kerala, India, to take urgent steps to save the remaining patches of the precious Mangrove ecosystem.
A very effective awareness campaign is being conducted among the local people by the Mangrove Protection Forum.

From Khaleel chovva, President, Mangrove Protection Forum

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Bangladesh

Lack of Respect Shown To Local Grassroots NGOs and Communities

It is learnt that the Fourth Fisheries Project of the Department of Fisheries of Bangladesh are preparing a Strategy and Action Plan for Coastal Shrimp and Aqua-Culture Sub-sector, and that they have made much
progress in this direction. All of us are aware that shrimp is an important factor in the bio-diversity and economy of the Coastal Region of Bangladesh and there is a hot debate going on these issues.

People have since a long time been demanding the formulation of a just and equitable shrimp policy. There are also reports that people and civil society activists
are taking initiatives to formulate a Peoples? Shrimp Policy.

It is, therefore, high time that the opinions of the people incorporated in the Strategy and Action Plan being formulated by the FFP of DOF. In fact, we think that now it has become too late, as we could not take any initiative because we did not get any information on the subject in time.

On April 21, 2004, I was invited to a Workshop at Castle Salam, Khulna, and it was there that I came to learn about the DOF-FFP initiative. Now I take the opportunity to draw the attention of all and request your advice as to what action to be taken by us in this perspective.

From Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu cdp@khulna.bangla.net

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Shrimp businessmen urged to uphold labour rights

NewAge, May 3, 3004. Dhaka, Bangladesh
www.newagebd.com

Speakers at a roundtable discussion on Friday at the conference room of Hotel Western INN in Khulna city asked the owners of the shrimp processing companies to consider the rights of the labourers in their companies.
Thirty five people, including the labourers in shrimp processing companies, NGO personnel, human rights workers, university teachers and journalists attended the roundtable titled ?Rights status in shrimp processing companies, Rupsha, Khulna.?
Social Activities for Environment (SAFF), a local human rights organisation arranged the roundtable, while Mahmud Hasan, president of the organisation, presided over the meeting.
Advocate Firoz Ahmed, the Khulna coordinator of BELA, moderated the roundtable. Professor Golam Murtuza, the head of the Urban and Rural Planning Discipline of Khulna University, Ashraf-uz-Zaman, Ashok Kumar Kundu, the managing director of SAFF, advocate Mohsin, advocate Sayeda Sabiha and journalist Gouranga Nandi addressed the roundtable, among others.
A key note paper entitled ?The human rights among the women labourers in the shrimp processing companies in Rupsha? was presented on behalf of SAFF.
The participants said that shrimp sector is the most important sector of earning foreign exchange and if the condition of the labourers of this sector is not developed, this sector will face the threat of extinction in the long run.
The labourers informed that they have to work 12 to 18 hours a day in exchange of Tk 800 to Tk 1800 per month.
There is hardly any medical facility in the shrimp processing companies, the labourers added.
The speakers asked the owners of the companies to be more humane to the labourers.
The keynote paper stated that there about 10 thousand labourers work in 56 shrimp processing companies in Khulna including 20 very big ones. The workers are deprived of their legal rights, the key note paper said.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

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Outlaws raid Satkhira shrimp enclosures

THE DAILY STAR

Outlaws are conducting raids to different shrimp enclosures here for toll.

On April 19, outlaws poisoned two shrimp enclosures belonging to Atiar Rahman and Abdul Karim in Munshiganj area of Shyamnagar upazila for their failure to meet up the demand for toll amounting to two lakh taka.

On April 20, miscreants tortured three shrimp enclosure owners Rezaul Islam, Halim and Kader of Dhalbaria village in Kaliganj upazila as they did not pay toll amounting to 50,000 taka each.

On the same night, toll collectors looted cash and valuables worth 12,000 taka from a enclosure owner, Afiluddin of Shukderpur village in Assasuni upazila. They also beat up his staff.

On April 22, miscreants numbering 15 to 20 armed with deadly weapons raided the shrimp enclosures of Mizanur Rahman, Kawsar Ali, Nurul Islam, Wahidul Islam, Shahar Ali, Niranjan Mondal, Kartik Sarkar and Mahinuddin at Rawtara village in Assassuni and demanded toll. As they failed the criminals looted shrimp worth about 2 lakh taka from the enclosures.

On April 23, outlawed operatives looted 50,000 taka in cash and shrimp worth 10,000 taka from two enclosures of Abdur Rashid and Abu Bakkar at Gabura-parshemari in Shyamnagar upazila as each of them failed to pay toll amounting to one lakh taka.

From: Zakir Kibria

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Planned shrimp enclosure protested

THE DAILY STAR

A tense situation is prevailing as hundreds of land-owning farmers are protesting an attempt by some influential people to turn about 2000 hectares of cropland into shrimp enclosures in Char Emarson, Char Haridrakhali, Fulkhali and Vanguni villages Galachipa upazila.

The farmers held a big protest rally at Vanguni High School ground on Thursday.

About 40 musclemen allegedly engaged by the influentials moved in the on motorcycles when the rally was going on, creating tension. Since then, the farmers have been holding small gatherings at different places in the area.

When contacted, the Galachipa Uapzila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) told this correspondent that the Upazila Magistrate has given an order to stop all activities for the planned shrimp enclosures.

From: Zakir Kibria

OCEANIA
Australia

AUSTRALIAN OCEANS CONFERENCE WARNED OF RISING SEA LEVELS
HOBART, Tasmania, Australia, April 22, 2004 (ENS) – Sea levels in the Australian region are rising at rates which will have a major impact over decades to come, scientists warned participants in a recent national oceans
conference. Australia’s ocean territory, at 14 million square kilometers, is the largest of any nation on Earth. Speaking at the Coast to Coast 04 conference, Dr. John Church, of the government scientific agency CSIRO and
the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, said a recent research has confirmed that the North Queensland city of Cairns would be subject to impacts such as flooding, storm surges and severe wave
conditions. “Sea level rise has the potential to affect millions of people living in low lying coastal regions, particularly the inhabitants of mega-cities developing on coasts around the world and those living on deltas
of major rivers and small island nations,” he said. “Put extreme storms king tides and long term sea level rise together and you have a package that the insurance industry recognizes will produce high cost storms and floods in Australia and New Zealand,” said Dr. Church, who was a lead author on sea level rise for the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change released in 2000.
—SOURCE: Environment News Service, April 22, 2004. Copyright Environment
News Service (ENS) 2004. Republished with permission from ENS online at:
www.ens-news.com

From: Michelle Wildes

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S,Pacific

Taboos could save the seas
New Scientist vol 182 issue 2443 – 17 April 2004, page 9

THE island nations of the south-western Pacific are considering allowing
citizens to reclaim legal control of their local seas, in the hope they can
use their traditional knowledge, customs and laws to protect fish stocks and
biodiversity. The move is a tacit acknowledgement that western-style
centralised fishing regulations are failing to protect many of the world’s
marine ecosystems.Almost all Melanesian countries, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu, are reporting falling numbers of several species
of fish and mollusc. Most of the reports are anecdotal, but the absence of hard data makes it more, not less urgent to improve the management of inshore fisheries, says reef scientist Clive Wilkinson, coordinator of the International Marine Project Activities Centre (IMPAC) based in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. For instance, village elders from Ucunivanua in Fiji say it used to be easy to collect bagfuls of large clams from shallow mudflats and seagrass beds. By the early 1990s it took a day to gather just half a bag.

To address the widespread decline, Melanesian government representatives met scientists, NGOs and lawyers at a workshop hosted by IMPAC in Townsville, Queensland, last month. They have drawn up a list of
principles for how best to protect the environment using traditional laws, which grant villages ownership of the narrow band of sea adjacent to them.

At present these laws are not recognised in any of the countries, but they will form the basis of a discussion document that will soon be presented to the cabinets of each Melanesian government. If adopted, they will be used to create a regional action plan.The delegates believe that national laws will still be the best way to regulate new fishing technologies and fishing in highly urbanised areas where traditional customs no longer exist. But they
believe that local laws and traditions can yield unique benefits.One such custom is the concept of taboo, which villagers can evoke to declare “no-take zones”.

“Taboos can be incorporated into formal law,” says Eric Kwa, a law lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby, and a delegate at the workshop.The concept is already being trialled in the Papua New Guinean community of Kimbe Bay in north-central New Britain, says Kwa. In 1994, a survey by US-based conservation charity The Nature Conservancy found the bay is home to at least 860 coral reef fish species – greater diversity than is found in the entire Caribbean. But population growth and an expansion of lowland logging and fishing were threatening the local reefs. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, eight villages in the region set up local marine area committees, and established quota fishing and long-term no-take zones.The impact of the project is not yet clear, but researchers from James Cook University in Townsville have recently conducted species surveys and are preparing to publish the findings. And last year, Kwa began drafting local laws to incorporate the approach.Ucunivanua has also set up a community-driven project, and it is beginning to reap rewards. Working with scientists at the Fiji campus of the
University of the South Pacific, the village set up a 24-hectare no-take area, and developed simple clam-monitoring methods. A follow-up study has found a 300 per cent increase in clam numbers in the no-take area and a 100 per cent increase in surrounding areas. The hope now is to repeat this approach throughout Melanesia.The workshop also concluded that scientists should be encouraged to give communities information about species monitoring, and about what kinds of regulations are needed and why.

“Our economic well-being is particularly rooted in natural resources. I believe that if we argue our case strongly, our governments will take it on,” says Russell Nari, deputy director ofVanuatu’s national environment unit.Other
Pacific regions are considering doing the same. In May, Micronesian nations will meet in Palau for their own workshop on how to protect the environment with traditional law. And Polynesian countries have similar plans.

Emma Young Sydney

From: mritchie@iatp.org

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Fiji

Subsistence fishing ‘threatens Fiji’s coral reefs’
Crown-of-thorns starfish feeding on coralsMike Shanahan
6 May 2004
Source: SciDev.Net

Traditional fishing practices – and not just large-scale commercial fishing – are destroying Fiji’s coral reefs, according to new research.

A team of UK-based scientists has found that subsistence fishing in Fiji can promote outbreaks of a coral-eating starfish normally eaten by the fish caught by local people. They warn that this can lead to cascades of other ecological impacts as corals are replaced – perhaps permanently – by algae.

“This study suggests that even low levels of fishing may cause ecosystem meltdown,” says Nick Polunin of the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, who led the research.

Commercial fishing has long been identified as a major threat to coral reefs. But this study examined the impact of subsistence fishing for food only, using traditional methods such as spear or hook-and-line fishing.

The scientists studied 13 ‘relatively pristine’ islands in Fiji’s Lau Island group. For each island, they devised an index of fishing intensity based on the human population and the extent of the coral reef present. They then surveyed the islands’ reefs for more than 100 species of predatory fish, as well as crown-of-thorns starfish, which feed on live corals.

They found that, as fishing intensity increased, predator densities fell by 61 per cent, while starfish densities increased – in some cases more than 1000-fold. Meanwhile, reef-building corals declined by a third and were replaced by non-reef building species (mainly algae) as a result of starfish predation.

This shift from coral to algae is also happening in the Caribbean and elsewhere. But there is debate among researchers about whether it is primarily attributable to nutrient inputs, to fishing or to climate-change effects.

“It is true [that coral reefs] are proving vulnerable to massive impacts such as coral bleaching linked to climate warming,” Polunin told SciDev.Net. “However, we have the first good evidence for a strong link between fishing and a coral-to-algal phase shift.”

Writing in the journal Ecology Letters, the researchers suggest that maintaining a minimum level of predators in protected areas across reefs may be a useful approach to conservation management.
Link to abstract of paper in Ecology Letters

From: info@scidev.net

LATIN AMERICA
Mexico

Restoration and Conservation Seminar in Mexico

CURSO/Course: Structure & Function of Mangrove Forests, Actual Concepts and Application in Rehabilitation and Restoration Projects of the Coastal Zone

TITULO: ESTRUCTURA Y FUNCION DE LOS BOSQUES DE MANGLAR: CONCEPTOS ACTUALES Y SU APLICACI?N EN PROYECTOS DE REHABILITACION Y RESTAURACION DE LA ZONA COSTERA

FECHAS: 4 al 17 de Julio, 2004

PROFESORES:

Dr. Victor H. Rivera-Monroy
Senior Research Scientist, Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA

Dr. Ernesto Medina
Profesor, Centro de Ecolog?a, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cient?ficas
Caracas 1020-A, Venezuela

Dr. Carlos Coronado-Molina
Senior Research Scientist, South Florida Water Management District
West Palm Beach, Florida USA

Dr. Jorge A. Herrera Silveira
Profesor Titular, CINVESTAV-IPN, Unidad Mérida
Coordinador del Curso

Contacta: Dr. Jorge A. Herrera Silveira
FAX: (52) (9999) 81 23 34; Tel: (52) (9999) 81 29 60 Ext: 522
E-mail jherrera@mda.cinvestav.mx.

CARIBBEAN
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN THE CARIBBEAN

PRESS RELEASE Photos available 26 April 2004

Three hundred Red Mangrove trees were planted on Grand Ilet in the Simpson Bay Lagoon on Saturday, April 24, 2004. Environmental Protection In the Caribbean (EPIC) led the effort in partnership with Reserve Naturelle St. Martin. Funding was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation of the United States. Technical assistance was provided by Greenfingers, NV. The trees were planted by 22 hard-working and spirited volunteers from around the island and the world. Many children from boats in the lagoon lent a hand as well, especially with placing rocks around the base of the seedlings to deflect waves. The next phase of the project will be to monitor the growth of the seedlings and ensure their survival. Boaters are encouraged to limit wake along the side of the island facing the Juliana airport, as large waves could knock over the young trees.

Mangroves have the unique ability to tolerate being in salt water. They prevent erosion of the shoreline and will collect sediment around their conspicuous roots. The roots spread out over the water before heading into the mud below, giving mangroves the nickname “walkingtrees.” These roots provide a surface for corals, sponges, and other organisms which are food for young fish, conch, shrimp, crabs, and other sealife. Mangrove forests are often referred to as nurseries for their role as a shelter for these juvenile creatures. These remarkable trees also filter water through their roots to make it cleaner, a process called rhizofiltration. In fact, mangroves fill so many important roles that they were valued at over $300,000 per acre in a Puerto Rican court decision to compensate for mangroves destroyed during an oil spill.

Unfortunately, the majority of mangrove forests which historically lined the lagoon have been cleared. There are a few pockets remaining, but even these sites are not yet protected by law. By planting mangroves, EPIC hopes to improve the natural environment of the lagoon while raising awareness of the importance of mangrove trees to fisheries, water quality, and shoreline stabilization.

From: “NATALIA S COLLIER”

NORTH AMERICA
USA

” More From Today’s Mobile Register

Group alleges health risks from farm-raised shrimp
Public Citizen cites ‘wretched cocktail’ of chemicals and wastes
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

By SEAN REILLY
Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — As struggling U.S. shrimpers seek protection from a flood of cheap imports, the national consumer organization Public Citizen has opened a separate campaign to spotlight what it views as the health risks of farm-raised shrimp that mostly come from abroad.
From Our Advertiser

“Shrimp farms produce a wretched cocktail of chemicals, shrimp feed and shrimp feces,” the campaign’s field director, Andrianna Natsoulas, said recently in a prepared statement. “We want consumers to understand the real cost of shrimp and what it’s doing to their health.”

In a follow-up interview, Natsoulas acknowledged that there is thus far no evidence “that people have developed any problems” from eating farm-raised shrimp.

But there is evidence, she said, that chemicals used in breeding farm-raised shrimp can cause illness and other problems. Among those: chloramphenicol, a restricted antibiotic linked to blood disorders. Two years ago, then-Alabama Agriculture Com missioner Charles Bishop barred a half-dozen Chinese shrimp and crawfish products containing trace amounts of chloramphenicol.

Founded in 1971 by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Public Citizen is a nonprofit group active in environmental, trade and energy issues.

Its campaign got under way this past weekend in Washington as a Honduran activist held workshops on problems associated with shrimp aquaculture. While the effort is in its early stages, Public Citizen hopes to build consumer awareness over the next several years, said Wenonah Hauter, another official involved in the effort.

The newly launched campaign comes as shrimpers in Alabama and other states are pursuing a high-profile complaint accusing China, Brazil and four other nations of illegally dumping shrimp on the United States at unfairly low prices.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance, an eight-state coalition of shrimpers and processors, was part of an industry committee that filed the complaint late last year. In February, the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency, paved the way for further investigation when it ruled that imports may have hurt domestic shrimpers.

In June, federal commerce authorities are expected to make a preliminary determination on whether dumping has actually occurred. The alliance is asking for higher tariffs that would raise the price of imported shrimp. The countries in question have denied violating trade laws.

At the American Seafood Distributors Association, an industry group opposed to the anti-dumping complaint, spokesman Paul Nathanson accused the alliance of teaming up with Public Citizen at the risk of tarnishing the image of all shrimp.

“I think the (Public Citizen) campaign is completely false,” Nathanson said Friday, adding that the alliance is “making a deal with the devil.”

But alliance spokeswoman Deborah Regan said her group is not part of the Public Citizen campaign and is “extremely worried” that consumers won’t see the difference between wild and farmed shrimp.

While the alliance and Public Citizen share some goals — such as getting the federal Food and Drug Administration to do a better job of inspecting imported seafood — “we have been asking (Public Citizen) to manage their message and make the distinction,” Regan said.

Imported shrimp make up almost 90 percent of the U.S. market. Although the United States has some shrimp farms, virtually all of the cultivated varieties come from abroad, said Bob Rosenberry, the San Diego publisher and editor of an industry yearbook.

For the moment, consumers generally have to ask where their shrimp comes from, Regan said. But at the end of September, the federal government will require retailers to list the country of origin and the method of production for both fresh and frozen shrimp, she said. The industry is also working on its own marketing program to single out “wild caught” shrimp.

As shrimp farming has boomed in Asia and South America in recent decades, it has also brought complaints of environmental damage and potentially unsafe practices, such as the use of chloramphenicol.

While Nathanson said that importers and distributors have a vested interest in assuring the safety of farm-raised shrimp, Regan noted that the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has raised broad questions about the adequacy of govern ment oversight.

In one report several years ago, the GAO found that the Food and Drug Administration had tested less than 1 percent of all seafood products entering the United States in 1999. In a follow-up this January, GAO reviewers found some progress, but concluded that still more needs to be done.

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration declined to answer questions on the record Monday.

At the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washing ton, D.C., nutrition advocacy organization, Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal agreed that the FDA needs to improve its performance.

Meanwhile, she advised shrimp lovers to take nothing for granted.

“What I think the consumer can do is ask people selling the seafood where it’s from and whether it’s been tested for antibiotics. It’s up to the fish purveyors to be knowledgeable and educated … about the product they’re trying to sell.”

From: HBreen

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April 20, 2004

Testing shrimp caught in Florida waters

Knight-Ridder Tribune
Mark Holan, Tampa Tribune, Fla.

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is, according to this story, testing shrimp caught in Florida waters for a substance typically associated with pond-raised prawns.

It’s the latest twist in the continuing battle between domestic shrimp fishermen and overseas shrimp exporters, FDA officials said they are testing shrimp catches on boats working out of Central Florida. On Monday an FDA
investigator took test samples from the shrimp boat Nancy Joy after it arrived at the dock of John Williams, secretary-treasurer of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. He has been calling for tariffs on imported shrimp.

Specifically, the FDA is testing for chloramphenicol, an antibiotic typically associated with shrimp aquaculture.

Ernest A. Clausnitzer, an FDA investigator, was cited as saying the agency is seeking to establish whether wild shrimp contain levels of chloramphenicol, too, and that if chloramphenicol is found in open water shrimp, it may mean the substance occurs naturally in the species. If that
is true, chloramphenicol test results might be skewed for farm-raised shrimp exported to this country, the FDA says. Trace levels of the substance can result in the federal government impounding imported shrimp.

Some Florida shrimpers said they are unclear why the FDA has launched the testing program.

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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Virus – Stricken Shrimp Concerns Hawaii

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Despite measures taken to quarantine a virus at a Kauai shrimp farm, the disease could spread to native crustaceans and ultimately harm the reef ecosystem, state officials said.

The state Department of Agriculture quarantined Ceatech USA, Inc.’s shrimp farm in Kekaha after white spot syndrome virus, which causes serious disease in crustaceans, was discovered earlier this month. continues….
NY TIMES

From: Mike Shanahan mikeshanahan@yahoo.com

EUROPE
Europe Big Importer of Shrimp Today

Statistics are very difficult to obtain. Trade statistics do not yet identify wild versus farmed shrimp, in my research I had to come up with all kinds of improvisations: find out what country the shrimp are from and then find out what the ratio farmed/caught is in that country.

The EU is the largest overall importer of shrimp, with imports totaling 528,314,000 kg (528,314 MT) in 2000, worth over USD 3.9 billion. However, this includes all kinds off shrimp and exports have to be deducted (but
exports are within the EU mainly).

The consumption is even more difficult to find out. There are virtually no statistics of consumption.

From: “Patrick Janssen”

STORIES/ISSUES
Some B.C. fisheries targeted by groups

Larry Pynn
Vancouver Sun

May 5, 2004

Mike Sutton of the Packard Foundation shows examples of seafood that’s not endangered.
CREDIT: Steve Bosch, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER – Conservation groups bankrolled by a major U.S. foundation are launching a global boycott of fish caught in environmentally damaging fisheries, potentially involving B.C. salmon farming and shrimp trawling.
On the positive side, these same groups are also recommending consumers support sustainable fisheries, including the province’s wild halibut and
Dungeness crab fisheries, as well as clams and oysters raised through aquaculture.

“It’s very simple — a green list and a red list,” said Mike Sutton, a lawyer and program officer for the California-based Packard Foundation. “The environmental community has a history of gloom and doom, just saying ‘no.’ In this case, there is good news, too. In every case, there are good substitutes.”

In an interview Tuesday at the World Fisheries Congress in Vancouver, Sutton said lobbying politicians has proven largely ineffective because consumers are not aware of the threats facing marine stocks around the world.
“It’s a sad commentary, really,” he said. “We don’t have the political will to stop overfishing, to stop destructive fishing practices. The public believes oil spills are the biggest threat to the oceans. We know that’s not
true. It’s not the acute things, it’s the chronic day-to-day overfishing and so forth.”

The foundation has financed a wallet-sized “Fish List” providing consumers with a red list of species to “avoid” and a green list of species to “enjoy.” Millions of the lists are being distributed in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe under the umbrella organization, the Seafood Choices Alliance. The same information is available at www.thefishlist.org, where the list will be updated as specific fisheries improve or worsen.

“Consumers are hungry for this information,” Sutton said. “Most of us eat seafood out, be it fast food or white tablecloths. Carrying a card like that, it’s easy to whip it out and ask the chef, ‘Is this farmed salmon or wild?’ ”

THE FISH LIST: What to Eat, What Not

A coalition of environmental groups categorizes food fish based on each fishery’s sustainability and its potential threat to the environment.
ENJOY:
Farmed catfish, caviar, clams, mussels, oysters, sturgeon, and tilapia (U.S.); Dungeness, snow (Canada), and stone crabs; Pacific halibut; sablefish/black cod (Alaska); salmon (wild from Alaska); sardines; scallops (bay); farmed and wild striped bass.
AVOID:
Wild caviar; Chilean sea bass/toothfish; Atlantic cod; grouper; Atlantic halibut; monkfish/goosefish; orange roughy; rock cod/Pacific rockfish; farmed and Atlantic salmon; shark; shrimp (imported, farmed and wild); snapper; wild sturgeon; bluefin tuna.
Source: Seafood Choices Alliance Ran with fact box “The Fish List”, which has been appended to the end of the
story.
(c) The Vancouver Sun 2004

From: bbelton@iatp.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Environment Day Highlights Shrimp Farm and Trawler Issues

This year’s World Environment Day (5th of June) is focusing on Seas and Oceans. Check out www.unep.org/wed/2004/

In their factsheet UNEP is highlighting the destruction caused by shrimp farming and shrimp trawling!

“Key facts about Seas and Oceans:
….
48. Fishing for wild shrimp represents 2 per cent of global seafood but one-third of total by-catch. The ratio of by-catch from shrimp fishing ranges from 5:1 in temperate zones to 10:1 and more in the tropics.
49. Shrimp farming, too, is highly destructive. It causes chemical and fertilizer pollution of water and has been largely responsible for the destruction of nearly a quarter of the world?s mangroves.
50. Mangroves provide nurseries for 85 per cent of commercial fish species in the tropics.”

From
CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
International Workshop on PEATLAND CONSERVATION, RESTORATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE

LANZHOU CITY, GANSU, CHINA
7-9TH JULY 2004

Organizers
Wetlands International-China Office
Global Environment Centre
Gansu Forestry Department

Sponsors
UNEP-GEF
Global Peatland Initiative

The International Workshop on Peatland Conservation and Sustainable Use is the first international peatland workshop organized in China. It will be held in Lanzhou, Gansu province in western China, from 7-9 July 2004. The workshop will be followed by a six days technical visit to the Ruoergai Plateau, one of the world’s largest high-altitude peatlands. This workshop is part of the ‘Integrated Management of Peatlands for Biodiversity and Climate Change’ project funded by UNEP-GEF. It aims to identify strategies for peatland restoration on the Ruoergai plateau and identify sustainable use options. It will provide a learning platform for both international and local experts on the importance of peatlands management for biodiversity, water resource management and climate change and the links between these components. Additionally, it will present a unique opportunity for participants to visit these remarkable high-altitude peatlands of China..

Contact Address
Secretariat of Peatlands Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use Workshop
c/o Wetlands International-China Office
E-mail: wicp@public3.bta.net.cn  or wetgef@public.bta.net.cn

From: “Faizal Parish” fparish@genet.po.my

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Blue Frontier Conference

Blue Frontier Campaign ( www.bluefront.org ) and approximately 20 other marine conservation NGO’s are sponsoring a ‘Blue Vision’ Conference, July 11-13, 2004 in Washington D.C. Hundreds of marine activists and other professionals from throughout the US will gather for three exciting days of meetings and lobbying Congress for the enactment of a new Oceans Policy Act, adopting many of the recommendations of the Pew Oceans Commission Report, as well as many of the recommendations contained in the upcoming US Oceans Commission Report (due out 4/20/04) Please see: www.bluevizmeet.org
Hope to see you there.

Stuart Lansing Smits
West Coast Director and General Counsel
Blue Frontier Campaign

From: Bissyeam@aol.com

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Homalco First Nation Rejects Aquaculture

Campbell RIver Mirror – April, 30/04

By Grant Warkentin, Mirror Staff

Yesterday, the Homalco First Nation made it clear its people are dead set against allowing aquaculture in their territory.
By signing an agreement yesterday afternoon with the Georgia Strait Alliance, an environmental group that opposes aquaculture on the West Coast, the band affirmed its opposition to allowing fish farming in its traditional
Bute Inlet territory.

“Wild salmon are integral to our culture and to the well being of Bute Inlet,” said Homalco chief Darren Blaney. “Signing this protocol with the Georgia Strait Alliance is another step towards protecting and restoring this precious resource in our raditional territory. We want to continue to build bridges as we work towards economic development that does not put our
marine environment, and the industries that depend upon it, at risk.” Since electing a new chief and council in 2002, the Homalco First Nation has completely reversed its position on aquaculture. Early last year, Blaney said the band was trying to get out of a deal its previous council had signed with Heritage Aquaculture to allow fish farming in its traditional Bute Inlet territory. He said eco-tourism was a more lucrative and helpful industry for the band than aquaculture.

“With the fish farms they’ll be only creating work but there’s no profit – all the profits are going to some multinationals,” Blaney said at the time. He also pointed out fish farms would only create a few jobs while
eco-tourism would create more and allow the band to keep the profits. The environmental group agrees fish farms would do more damage than good.

“We respectfully submit that given the significant negative socio-economic effects outlined in this submission, the direct negative socio-economic effects of the proposed facility likely outweigh any direct positive socio-economic effects, and may intensify, not mitigate, the adverse effects resulting from the project,” said Laurie MacBride, executive director of the
Georgia Strait Alliance, in a report last month to the federal fisheries ministry.

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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Aquaculture leaders told to get tough with unfair critics
04/16/2004

People or organizations who produce incorrect or misleading ‘evidence’ against fish farming need to be met with firm action, even to the point of being taken to court. This is one of the messages delegates to the AquaVision 2004 conference will hear in June.

AQUAFEED

From: Anne Mosness eatwildfish@aol.com

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Editor’s Innocuous Note: I sometimes wonder just how far we humans can stray from the natural world in which we live? It seems that our future on this planet will be one which basically creates an artificial world to live upon, feeding ourselves via chemically raised fruit and vegetable factories and artificial fish, poultry and beef feed lots . Could it be that humankind is preparing itself to leave our cocoon of planet earth behind one day, burst forth into outer space like a butterfly that passes through the ravenous phases of its metamorphosis eating up every leaf in its path from caterpillar to cocoon, emerging from its metamorphosis ready to fly away to another planet leaving a denuded tree of earth behind? The only problem is there are not enough resources on this planet so that all of us can fly off to other planets, and Is this why the present administration is so interested in getting a man on Mars?in the meantime those left behind will have to eat little vitamin pills, perhaps fed to us by robots, or unemployed farmers and fishers, to survive! Just a crazy thought, but what if it was hatched from an egg head of MIT, then maybe you would take this editor more seriously!

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The Bluewater Revolution (Ushers In Robots)

The oceans of the world are being overfished. The solution: roaming robots that bring fish farming to the open seas

By Charles C. Mann
WIRED.COM

About 9 miles southeast of New Hampshire, near the Isles of Shoals, what seems to be an ordinary yellow navigation buoy sways in the Atlantic chop. Like a regular buoy, it’s a metal cylinder that extends 10 feet above the surface and blinks its lights to warn away passing ships. Unlike a regular buoy, though, it has an access hatch that leads to an inner chamber crammed with enough electronics to merit its own IT staff. Indeed, this may be the first buoy in history that had its launch delayed by a software glitch.

The buoy is the antenna, eyes, and brain of a sprawling apparatus suspended beneath the surface like a huge aquatic insect, its legs of thick steel chain tethered to the ocean floor. The creature’s body is a group of three cages, each resembling a gigantic toy top. Inside the cages are swirling,
stupid mobs of fish.

The apparatus, an experiment operated by the University of New Hampshire, makes up the first fish farm ever on the open ocean. But this undertaking is more than the latest step in humankind’s long effort to tame the seas. The university’s Open Ocean Aquaculture Project may represent the best hope for
saving those seas – or at least much of the life within them.

Inside the cages swim halibut, haddock, and cod, species fished in the Northeast for centuries. Of the three, the most important has always been cod, once so abundant that early European visitors reported catching them simply by lowering baskets into the water. “In relation to our present modes
of fishing,” the eminent biologist T. H. Huxley said in 1883, “a number of the most important sea fisheries, such as the cod fishery are inexhaustible.”

Today the abundance Huxley extolled is on the verge of disappearing. Unless something changes soon, biologist Daniel Pauly recently warned in The New York Times, there will be nothing left for the next generation but “plankton stew.”

Twenty-eight percent of fish stocks worldwide are either overfished or nearing extinction, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization; another 47 percent are near the limits of sustainability. In waters off the US, roughly a third of stocks are in jeopardy, the US
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports. The waters off New England and Newfoundland are by some measures the worst in the world; a University of British Columbia team led by Pauly predicted last year that
many large species “will |be all but gone from the North Atlantic region within a few decades.” Humanity is setting off the aquatic equivalent of a neutron bomb, leaving the marine environment intact but killing off all its inhabitants.

Meanwhile, the demand for fish continues to rise. Driven by a growing human population as well as rising standards of living that leads more people to seek meat in their diets, fish consumption doubled between 1973 and 1997,
according to a joint study by two leading think tanks, the International Food Policy Research Institute and the WorldFish Center. By 2020, the catch will have to increase again by nearly half just to keep up with demand. Fishing restrictions won’t solve the problem: The seas are too big to police. Moreover, the greatest demand comes from developing nations in Asia, whose citizens can hardly be told to eat less protein than their counterparts in the West.

The answer lies in aquaculture: increasing the supply of fish by farming them as though they were livestock. “Without aquaculture, you’d be talking about a tripling or quadrupling of fish prices by 2020 or 2030, which would have very negative impacts on nutrition in developing countries,” says IFPRI’s Mark Rosegrant, one of the study’s authors. Already, a third of the annual global fish harvest comes from farms, both on land and in shallow water just offshore. But today’s methods won’t be able to produce the volume of fish needed for tomorrow – they’re too dirty, costly, and politically unpopular. Preventing catastrophic overfishing will require aquaculture on
an unprecedented scale, and that means forging out into the open ocean. It will demand a shift as dramatic as that of the agricultural Green Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s – a Blue Revolution that is already under way.

The University of New Hampshire experiment, along with similar installations in countries from Portugal to China, is just the beginning. In the future, ocean ranches will be everywhere, except they’ll be vastly bigger and fully automated – and mobile. Launched with lab-bred baby fish, these enormous motorized pens will hitch months-long rides on ocean currents and arrive at their destinations filled with mature animals, fattened and ready for market.

“It took thousands of years to make the Neolithic transformation from hunting and gathering to modern agriculture,” notes Cliff Goudey, director of MIT’s Center for Fisheries Engineering Research. The transition to
open-ocean aquaculture, though, will have to take place within a few decades. “If it doesn’t happen,” he says, “I’m afraid we’ll destroy the seas.”

For thousands of years, Chinese farmers have raised carp in artificial pools shared by ducks and pigs. George Nardi was aware of that history, but it didn’t prepare him for the scope of aquaculture in China today. As chief technical officer for GreatBay Aquaculture, a commercial seafood farm in
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Nardi had been asked to produce 200,000 baby flounder – enough for more than a thousand tons of meat when full-grown – for farms in the seaside city of Qingdao. In October, after he sent off the
11?2-inch fingerlings via airfreight, he set out to meet them at their destination.

On his drive from Beijing to Qingdao, Nardi passed scores of land-based fish farms, each housing a dozen concrete tanks 20 feet per side and swarming with turbot or shrimp. When he arrived in Qingdao, his hosts showed him still more, tank after tank filled with salt water from wells deep enough to catch seepage from the sea.

Between 1980 and 1997, the Chinese Bureau of Fisheries reports, aquaculture harvests grew at an annual rate of 16.7 percent, jumping from 1.9 million to nearly 23 million tons – two-thirds of the world’s total production, according to the United Nations. By 2020, bureau deputy director-general Wang Yianliang has predicted, fish will be the staple protein of the
planet’s most populous nation.

Pauly, the University of British Columbia biologist, argues that China’s statistics are exaggerated. But no one disputes that China and other Asian countries have made extraordinary strides in aquaculture. According to UN statistics, the six nations that produce the most farmed fish are in Asia.
Most intend to increase their annual harvests. And all expect to do it the traditional way, using pools, rivers, and rice paddies.

Just one problem, says IFPRI research director Rosegrant: Even that huge effort won’t satisfy the region’s appetite. Asia won’t be able to meet the growing demand using traditional techniques, and neither will the rest of the world. The usual approaches – the land-based method practiced in China and near-shore farming employed elsewhere – are simply too limited.

The main problem with raising fish on land is that it doesn’t – so to speak – scale well. Crowding animals into confined spaces increases the potential for devastating epidemics. At the same time, it creates demands for electricity and water that Asian infrastructures can’t fulfill – a serious problem, given that an aeration or filter failure can kill an entire harvest in minutes. “Ultimately,” Rosegrant says, “there’s only so many fish
you can grow on land.”

Near-shore operations don’t require electricity or well water, but they face a different set of problems. In British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Norway, salmon farmers set baglike nylon pens in bays and inlets, where they’re protected from extreme weather. The very calmness of the water, however, means that currents don’t disperse the inevitable plume of waste. A farm of
200,000 salmon flushes nitrogen and phosphorus into the water at levels equivalent to the sewage from 20,000 people. Near-shore salmon farms “are a recipe for ecological disaster,” says Don Staniford, managing director of the Salmon Farm Protest Group, in Scotland.

But the impact of environmentalist complaints pales next to that of the most powerful force pushing aquaculture into deeper water: the limited supply of waterfront real estate. “People in summer homes don’t want a bunch of fish cages cluttering up their million-dollar views,” says Richard Langan, director of the University of New Hampshire experiment. With zoning in
riverways and along shorelines tightening in every part of the world, “there’s no room left for farming. The industry is being pushed into the sea.”

A peek inside Chris Duffy’s office serves to illustrate this point. Duffy is operations manager of GreatBay Aquaculture, and his walls are covered with maps showing every fish farm in northern New England and eastern Canada. “Up here the water is too cold for salmon,” he says, pointing to the north.
“South of this line” – his finger moves to the tip of Maine – “the state says no aquaculture, because developers don’t like it. That leaves only this zone in the middle. There’s practically nowhere else to go. That’s why everyone is looking in places like” – the finger moves east, into the Atlantic, and taps the map at a location many miles offshore – “like this.”

The sea is a “high-energy environment,” says David Fredriksson, an engineer working on the University of New Hampshire project. High-energy environment is an engineer’s way of saying prone to sudden hurricanes, monster waves,
and abrupt currents that wreak havoc on human-made objects. The budget of Waterworld, Kevin Costner’s notorious 1995 bomb, ballooned by millions of dollars after an unseasonable storm tore apart its elaborate floating set, constructed in a supposedly calm patch of the Pacific. Waterworld is why people don’t set up farms in the middle of the ocean.

Only one year after the release of Waterworld, Net Systems, a trawling gear outfit in Bainbridge Island, Washington, became one of the first enterprises to sell equipment for open-ocean aquaculture. “We were way ahead, which was our big mistake,” says senior engineer Langley Gace. “When we came out with our first product, nobody knew what it was.”

Rather than a floppy nylon pen, Net Systems uses a rigid cage that resembles two huge cones glued end to end, joined by a steel ring around the middle. Fifty feet high and 80 feet at its widest point, the company’s largest cage has an inner volume of more than 100,000 cubic feet, enough for tens of thousands of fish. The whole structure is covered tightly with netting and
tethered to the buoy that contains the equipment room and feeding mechanism.. A steel cylinder 3 feet in diameter runs from the bottom of the cage to the top in a fashion reminiscent of a child’s gyroscope. The cylinder is capped by a pump that forces air into and out of its body. Depending on the mix of
air and water, the cage floats on the surface or sinks to a desired depth.

The ability to float beneath the waves is the key to solving the Waterworld problem. However rough the surface, the sea 60 feet below is “a quiet, almost a gentle environment,” says Jim McVey, aquaculture research coordinator for NOAA. “The fish like it. The equipment likes it. Heck, I like it.”

In addition to the University of New Hampshire project, aquaculture firms are using Net Systems cages in waters near the Bahamas, China, the Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, and Spain. And Net Systems, with help from the university, is already working on the next stage: a 20-ton buoy that will automatically feed and monitor fish for weeks at a time.
“Ultimately, you should be able to run the farm from a desk onshore,” says Michael Chambers, project manager of the UNH experiment.

Goudey, the MIT fisheries engineer, views these efforts as small prototypes.. Backed by federal funds, he has begun work on an immense next-generation design, 174 feet tall and 270 feet in diameter, called the Ocean Drifter. Unlike its predecessors, which are fixed to the seafloor, this enormous cage will roam the seas, propelled by three electric thruster motors attached to the rig’s steel equator. Powered by a diesel generator mounted atop the central spar and steered by software, it will venture hundreds of miles from shore. When the fish are big enough to sell, a specially designed ship will
embrace the cage and hoist it aboard.

“The ocean is full of predictable currents, or gyres,” Goudey says. “If you could get the cage into one of these gyres, it would essentially stay in the same place, or at least have a predictable trajectory. Even if you had just a slight ability to adjust its movement, you’d be able to control its path
pretty exactly.” In his view, “you could build a fleet of these things in the Straits of Florida, fill them with fingerlings of, say, cobia, and let them follow the Gulf Stream for nine months until they reached their intended market in Europe with a harvestable crop. Then you’d load them up again and send them back along the southern route with another crop.”

Ping-ponging slowly between continents, these enormous, largely automated underwater ranches would drift into big-city harbors – fresh fish by the ton, delivered daily. No more giant factory ships with illegal 20-mile-long drift nets! No more airfreighting frozen slabs of tuna from the Atlantic for
auction in Tokyo! Instead, hatcheries in Mexico would send baby tuna to Japan in million-cubic-foot cages. By the time the floating farms reached Tokyo, the fish, cosseted in their cages like Kobe cattle in their stalls, would be ready for sashimi.

Many obstacles stand in the way of this vision, among them a paltry federal ocean-aquaculture research budget ($780,000 this year) and no clear method for obtaining the necessary permits (NOAA recently persuaded Congress to introduce legislation to streamline licensing of commercial aquaculture
operations).

“The legal regime is a major issue,” MIT’s Goudey says. “Is this kind of thing a vessel? If not, what is it? How can you establish title to this kind of object in the open ocean?”

He sighs. “And then, of course, you’re going to have to deal with Greenpeace.”

Deep-sea farms will spew as much waste into the water as th near-shore facilities opposed by environmentalists, but they’ll be operating in the open ocean – an area so devoid of life that it’s routinely called a wasteland. In this vast, lightly inhabited ecosystem, sea-ranching advocates say, the stream of waste will serve as a nutrient base for plant and animal life. Much as docks and pilings become centers of aquatic communities, the
giant cages will become ecosystems in themselves, with as many fish outside the cages as in them.

“They could – and some of the preliminary research suggests this – enrich the environment, rather than impoverish it,” NOAA’s McVey says.

Nonetheless, environmentalists still decry the aquaculture revolution. Their fears center less on ordinary waste than on a more insidious kind of pollution: genetic.

When fish farmers select breeding stock, they look for specially
fast-growing, meaty creatures. Over generations, the difference between the choices made by humans and those made by nature lead the fish to evolve, in the same way human choices created European cattle breeds from ancestral
populations in Asia and Africa. And just as today’s huge, gentle milk producers are strikingly unlike their fierce, shaggy ancestors, farmed fish will become ever more distinct from those in the wild. Meanwhile, varieties specially adapted to open-ocean farming are bound to be created through
genetic engineering (see “The Salmon King” at end of story).

Preventing the farmed and the wild from interbreeding is surprisingly difficult. Fish leap from pools and tanks into nearby streams and wriggle through holes in near-shore pens gnawed by seals and sea lions.

To critics like Staniford, such escapes are potential genetic catastrophes.Farmed animals are selected to grow quickly but not to breed successfully – that’s done in a lab. Wild fish breed exuberantly but have evolved to grow more slowly so they can ride out drops in the food supply. Laboratory studies suggest that ravenous farmed salmon could monopolize the food
supply, then fail to spawn. “They displace the natural population and then neither survive,” Staniford says.

Outside the lab, though, that displacement doesn’t always occur. Since 1990, more than a million farmed salmon have jumped the fence in Puget Sound and its tributaries, according to NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.
Almost none were seen again, apparently because their docility made them easy prey. Judging by autopsies of escapees, the pen-grown fish also had trouble finding food – they were too dumb to survive.

Moreover, Net Systems’ seafaring cages are much harder to escape than traditional tanks and pens. Indeed, Gace knows of no instance in which it has happened. The outer netting is made of Spectra, a superstrong polyethylene fiber used by NASA to tether spacewalking astronauts to the mothership. Wrapped tautly around the frame, it leaves no slack for
predators to grip, but the material is built to withstand the most ferocious attacks.

Nothing will ever reduce the chance of genetic pollution to zero – as they say in Jurassic Park, life finds a way. To some activists, this is sufficient reason to ban aquaculture altogether. To NOAA’s McVey, though, the whole issue is overblown. Humans, inveterate tinkerers, have genetically altered every species grown on farm, garden, and lawn, and these varieties all hybridize with their wild relatives. On roadsides in southern Mexico, for example, crosses between corn and its nearest wild relative, teosinte, are common.

Most of the time, these hybrids are benign; often they can’t reproduce. mixes with sea beet, a wild relative, to produce a weed that plagues European agriculture -the hybrid’s buried, bulbous roots are woody and hard enough to make fields
unplowable.

Farmers have had to be on the lookout for such hybrids for thousands of years. The Blue Revolution is simply moving this process into the sea. It’s a momentous change, but one that humankind has seen before.

To aquaculture enthusiasts, the advent of open-ocean farming – giant, autonomous farms ferrying genetically altered fish across the ocean – is both fascinatingly novel and mundanely obvious. On one hand, it’s unlike anything that has been attempted before. On the other, it’s merely a long-delayed extension of the Green Revolution into the 70 percent of the
planet that’s covered by water. Like the Green Revolution, it will probably have some negative environmental effects. But it will also feed countless millions – and possibly stop humankind from plundering the seas bare.

“There are risks, absolutely there are,” says McVey. “But we have the chance to set in motion a second agricultural revolution in our lifetimes. Plus, as a bonus, we can help save the oceans. I honestly can’t think of anything more exciting than that.”

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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Friday, May 07, 2004 – Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Fish-farm firm accused of violating pesticide law

By Craig Welch
Seattle Times staff reporter

A Redmond, WA, (USA) company whose owner was once sentenced to prison for illegally selling chemicals has been accused of more than 300 new violations of pesticide-handling laws.

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking up to $1.7 million in civil fines against Redmond’s Argent Chemical Laboratories, which manufactures and sells products for fish-farming operations around the world.

In one of the largest cases of its kind, the EPA says that, between 1999 and this year, the company made hundreds of sales of unregistered chemicals for use in rivers and streams, sold chemicals without proper warning labels and sold particularly hazardous chemicals to people not legally trained to use them.

One of those pesticides – rotenone, commonly used to eliminate unwanted fish – can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled, and can kill every form of life in a waterway if used improperly. Sales of rotenone are restricted by law to certified applicators.

But EPA officials said they tracked sales by Argent to uncertified homeowners on Bainbridge Island, in Seattle and in Miami. Another 55-pound bag was shipped, unlabeled, to a resort in Hawaii, where testing revealed rotenone concentrations 30 percent higher than the purchaser expected.

“This is a serious case,” said Richard Parkin, acting manager of EPA’s pesticides unit. “We have a repeat violator, now again out of compliance. What’s going on here is egregious.”

It marks the third time since the late 1980s that the EPA has accused Argent of mishandling pesticides.

In 1988, the company was fined $70,000 and faced criminal charges for lying to the EPA and the federal Food and Drug Administration. Its two executive officers, Eliot Lieberman and Beatriz Shanahan, were charged individually in the case….

From: Lynn Hunter
AROUND THE CORNER
Importance of Salt Flats Behind Mangroves

Your point made in the last LFN should also mention that a lot of those “worthless salt flats” behind mangroves, and not yet developed, need to be protected both for their own ecological values, but also for their future role as mangrove forests or tidal marshes. Will the development be moved? Not likely. We need to develop means of building new mangrove forests using dredged materials from harbors and waterways, as one contributing solution. It has been done hundreds of times in Florida already. The call them “spoil islands.”

“In essence, modern developments are robbing the future shorelines of places for mangroves to naturally plant themselves. Will we need to remove the shrimp farms, hotels, farms, coastal roadways and urban developments to make room for the mangroves as sea levels rise due to our inability to control our ravenous appetites for burning fossil fuels? Will this be possible, or are we seeing the sandwiching in of the last stands of mangrove forests between the rock of rising seas and the hard place of unsustainable development?”

From: Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, Professional Wetland Scientist
Certified Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America
E-mail: LESRRL3@AOL.COM

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LFN Serves Its Purpose Well!

I was impressed to read of the 7,000 mangroves plus an artificial reef created in Antigua. Your newsletter continues to keep me informed of events that would otherwise go unnoticed, thank you.

From: “NATALIA S COLLIER”

Additional papers are available at this site, and we are soliciting other papers for inclusion on the site for general availability.

Please respond to LESRRL3@AOL.COM  ROBIN LEWIS

A Redmond, WA, (USA) company whose owner was once sentenced to prison for illegally selling chemicals has been accused of more than 300 new violations of pesticide-handling laws.

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking up to $1.7 million in civil fines against Redmond’s Argent Chemical Laboratories, which manufactures and sells products for fish-farming operations around the world.

In one of the largest cases of its kind, the EPA says that, between 1999 and this year, the company made hundreds of sales of unregistered chemicals for use in rivers and streams, sold chemicals without proper warning labels and sold particularly hazardous chemicals to people not legally trained to use them.

One of those pesticides – rotenone, commonly used to eliminate unwanted fish – can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled, and can kill every form of life in a waterway if used improperly. Sales of rotenone are restricted by law to certified applicators.

But EPA officials said they tracked sales by Argent to uncertified homeowners on Bainbridge Island, in Seattle and in Miami. Another 55-pound bag was shipped, unlabeled, to a resort in Hawaii, where testing revealed rotenone concentrations 30 percent higher than the purchaser expected.

“This is a serious case,” said Richard Parkin, acting manager of EPA’s pesticides unit. “We have a repeat violator, now again out of compliance. What’s going on here is egregious.”

It marks the third time since the late 1980s that the EPA has accused Argent of mishandling pesticides.

In 1988, the company was fined $70,000 and faced criminal charges for lying to the EPA and the federal Food and Drug Administration. Its two executive officers, Eliot Lieberman and Beatriz Shanahan, were charged individually in the case….

From: Lynn Hunter

Late Friday News, 136th Ed., 26 April 2004

Dear Friends, April 24, 04
This is the 136th Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus while this editor visited in S. America.

This newsletter is brought to you for free, but PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Check our website for details or contact: mangroveap@olympus.net

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 136th Edition, 26 April 2004
FEATURE STORY
Where Will The Mangroves Grow?
GREENLAND ICE-SHEET MELTING RAPIDLY

MAP WORKS
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Progress on new CCRC Continues in Indonesia
MAP Curriculum Getting A Startup in the Philippines
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Race to save local dugong

Indonesia
Mangrove trees cut down, firms summoned
Support the victims of Newmont,s Gold Mining and Submarine Tailings Disposal

Cambodia
Where have all the fish gone?

S. ASIA

Bangladesh
Sundarbans going extinct
Sundari vanishing fast
Poaching: A threat to Bengal tigers
The Sundarbans: the new episode
ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER AVERTED BY HALTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CLUSTER VILLAGE
Mangrove grabbing stopped for now

EAST ASIA

China
The impact of shrimp farming on China Mangroves

LATIN AMERICA
Ecuador
The People Want To Manage Their Own Mangroves

Costa Rica
Wetlands Under Threat

THE CARIBBEAN
After 50 years, SDC slated to enhance Maiden Island

NORTH AMERICA
USA
New American NGO set up to promote aquaculture in developing countries
WHITE SPOT DISEASE IN USA Shrimp Farm
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
Shrimp on menu for Sussex farmers

STORIES/ISSUES
No antibiotics are currently approved by the FDA for use with shrimp
WORLD’S MARINE LIFE IS GETTING SICKER

ANNOUNCEMENTS
SWS Ramsar Support Grant Program – Announcement of 2004 Awards
IUCN Small Grants for Tourism fund
Farming the Seas: New PBS Film Documentary
Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
New Handbook of Mangroves in the
Philippines

CALL FOR PAPERS
DEADLINE JUNE 1 FOR WETLANDS 2004
Launch of the Asian Waterbird Census report 1997-2001

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming
Concern over ?sh-farm pesticides

AROUND THE CORNER
Diluting The Waters With Salmon Farming?

FEATURE STORY
Where Will The Mangroves Grow?

Note from the LFN Editor: If the sea levels rise so rapidly in the Southern Hemisphere due to global warming, where will the mangroves go? Can they “move” upland in time to avoid being completely inundated by rising seas? And, what of the shrimp farms, tourist hotels, farms and highways now being built “behind the mangroves,” as short-sighted measures, supposedly meant to protect these existing mangrove zones? The problem with developing these industries and expanding urban or agricultural developments behind the mangroves is that these areas would naturally be the same sites the mangroves would potentially “migrate to” if the sea levels rise.

In essence, modern developments are robbing the future shorelines of places for mangroves to naturally plant themselves. Will we need to remove the shrimp farms, hotels, farms, coastal roadways and urban developments to make room for the mangroves as sea levels rise due to our inability to control our ravenous appetites for burning fossil fuels? Will this be possible, or are we seeing the sandwiching in of the last stands of mangrove forests between the rock of rising seas and the hard place of unsustainable development?

=====

GREENLAND ICE-SHEET MELTING RAPIDLY

New reports indicate that ice sheets in Greenland and elsewhere are melting at accelerating rates, a phenomenon the authors have linked to global warming. In an article published in Sciencexpress, NASA scientists reported that increases in ice velocity during the summer are correlated with the timing and the intensity of ice sheet surface
melting. New measurements show that the flow of ice in the Greenland ice sheet has been accelerating since 1996 during the summer melt season. The results suggest that the ice sheet may be responding more quickly to the warming climate than previously thought. A report in
Nature indicates that the Greenland ice-sheet would melt faster and raise sea level by up to 7 meters in a warmer climate–a situation likely to occur during this century. Authors Jonathan M. Gregory, Philippe Huybrechts, and Sarah C. B. Raper say that the sheet is likely to be almostcompletely eliminated if annual average temperatures in
Greenland increase by more than about 3 degrees C. The report’s research found that concentrations of greenhouse gases will probably reach levels before 2100 that are sufficient to raise temperatures beyond this warming threshold.
—SOURCES: Sciencexpress, April 7,
Nature, April 7,
Volume 428, No. 6983, www.nature.com/

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

here

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

——————————————-

Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com.

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp. (click here)

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

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Progress on new CCRC Continues in Indonesia

The newest Coastal Communities Resource Center (CCRC) at Kuala Indah, located near Medan, Indonesia (the scheduled location for IHOF #10) is complete. It looks verygood. Construction on the public restrooms began last week.

April 22 (Earth Day): The “Do Your Own Mangrove Action Project” curriculum went to the printers where we will print 1000 copies in Indonesian language. The total cost is less than 40 cents per copy. We will pass these out at the IHOF #10, (a small number of English versions and also CD-Roms with PDF files will be made available as well). Also we will distribute these to 120 CBCRM NGO’s in Indonesia, and CUSO is taking 20 copies to Timor. In the future we will hold fee-based trainings on the use of this curriculum. We will sell the remaining copies to folks interested (most likely associated with future trainings) for 10,000 rp a copy or $1.25. We attached a price so that only folks serious about using the book will request a copy, otherwise the books will end up getting used to wrap fish and fried tofu. If demand is high, we will hold on to proceeds to print another batch, if not, proceeds go back into the program.

April 27 – May 1: Two trainers from Asian Regional Cookstove Program will make their long-awaited visit to Kuala Indah to host an improved-cookstove workshop with villagers from Kuala Indah and Gombus Laut. They will build a Nypah/Coconut Palm Sugar stove near the CCRC, and also create some fuel-efficient cookstoves for domestic use. The workshop will be basically the same as the workshop held earlier at the CCRC in Tiwoho, which had great success in terms of sparking local community interest and follow-up.

Iin the Hands of the Fishers (HOF) #10 workhop is scheduled for May 24-27, 2004 at the new CCRC at Kuala Indah .

From: “Ben Brown”
.
=====

MAP Curriculum Getting A Startup in the Philippines

For the past year Martin Keeeley, MAP’s Education Director, has been working via e-mail with Vicky Mendoza at the Centre for Environmental Awareness & Education at Quezon City in the
Philippines. They will soon be working on adapting/translating the curriculum for use in the
Philippines.

The next phase in the Philippines will be the publication of the curriculum and conducting
teacher workshops there. Vicky has agreed to be the liason person, using her position at the centre where she works as the base. Now we need to find
some money to pay for the workshops publication/printing of the curriculum, and airfare to get Martin there to run the workshops.

Around $8,000 to $10,000 is needed to complete the project. Any help towads raising the funds for this important project is greatly appreciated.

Please contact Martin Keeley directly via internet at at:

======

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conserve mangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience. www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for late August/ early September 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Race to save local dugong

Scientists hope cries hold key to survival

Ranjana Wangvipula

Staff at Phuket Marine Biological Centre examine an eight-month-old female dugong whose mouth was believed injured by a boad’t propeller. – Phuket Marine Biological Centre
Scientists are studying the cries of local dugong in a bid to devise a system that may be used to save the endangered sea mammal from extinction.

Dugong experts from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre have been working in collaboration with a research team from Kyoto University in Japan since January 2003.

In late February, they began using hydrophones to record the sounds of dugong off Libong Island, Trang province, around the clock.

All data had been stored for further analysis by Japanese graduate students specialising in the cries of dugong.

The scientists believed the sounds could be used to ward dugong away from fishing nets, in which many become entangled and die.

“The cry for fright could be recorded and played back to scare dugong away from trawlers,” suggested Marine and Coastal Resources deputy chief Udom Bhatiyasevi.

Dugong expert Kanjana Adulyanukosol, who took part in the study, said aural analysis would reveal more about dugong behaviour, including migration patterns.

She said this knowledge may lead to the development of a detector that could alert fishermen to dugong in their vicinity.

“The analysis should take at least half a year to complete,” she said.

Ms Kanjana was also recording the cries of a 8-month-old female dugong currently staying at the Phuket centre.

The main study was being conducted in a bid to save the country’s surviving dugong population of about 200.

In Australia, about 80,000 dugong live in special no-fishing zones.

Before they were declared a protected species, local dugong were previously killed for their meat and teeth, which were believed to bring good luck.

Ms Kanjana said without a sincere conservation plan, dugong may still become extinct in Thailand within 50 years.

From MAP / S.E. Asia” mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

Indonesia

Mangrove trees cut down, firms summoned

Source : The Jakarta Post, April 07, 2004
By Damar Harsanto Jakarta
Three companies have been summoned by a joint investigative team led by the City Agricultural and Forestry Agency over the felling of at least 200 mangrove trees along the Sedyatmo toll road in Kapuk, North Jakarta. The trees were reportedly cut down to make billboards along the toll road more visible to passing motorists.

“We have sent summonses to three companies as witnesses in this case. They are toll road operator PT Jasa Marga, ad agency PT Rainbow Cipta Utama and PT Mandara Permai, the developer of the advertisement spots,” agency head Peni Susanti told The Jakarta Post by phone on Tuesday.

Peni said representatives of the three companies had to appear to answer questions within three days of receiving the summonses.

“My agency will lead the joint team, which also comprises forest rangers, the city police and the North Jakarta Police,” she said.

She cited Government Regulation No. 1/2004, which replaced Law No. 41/1999 on forestry, as the legal grounds for the investigation. The regulation stipulates that the unauthorized felling of trees is illegal. Those found guilty of violating the regulation face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The new regulation carries heavier sanctions than Law No. 41/1999, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison or a fine of up to Rp 5 billion (US$588,235).

Aside from mangrove trees, the forestry agency found that other types of trees had also been cut down, including palm trees. The agency earlier received a report that 102 trees had been felled. But when it conducted a field check, it found that more than 200 had been lost.

“We recorded all of the different types of trees in the forest. That is why we know how many trees were cut down,” she said.

She deplored the felling of the mangrove trees, which play a crucial role in preventing seawater intrusion, land abrasion and flooding along the northern coast of the city.

“It is difficult to rehabilitate mangrove forests. We have to plant the seeds in a swampy area. Even if we succeed, each mangrove seed will only grow to a height of 30 centimeters within a year,” she said.

The head of the City Environmental Management Agency, Kosasih Wirahadikusumah, said on Tuesday his agency would demand that those parties responsible for cutting down the trees replace them by planting trees in other locations, the administration’s official online news source, BeritaJakarta.com, reported.

Earlier, City Park Agency head Sarwo Handhayani said the felling of the mangrove trees had been reported six weeks ago by urban activist Marco Kusumawijaya.

The agency found that additional trees along the Sedyatmo toll road were cut down two weeks ago.

From: Russ Cullinane coasia@indo.net.id

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Support the victims of Newmont,s Gold Mining and Submarine Tailings Disposal

Only three months remain until the closure of the Newmont Minahasa Raya gold mining operations in North Sulawesi, an operation that has left local communities facing a poverty and health crisis. Help the people of Sulawesi hold Newmont Minahasa Raya accountable for the seven years of rights violations and environmental destruction.

TAKE ACTION by sending the following letter to key decision-makers to protest the dangers of Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD), a method of dumping toxic mine waste into the ocean, banned in many countries because of the environmental impacts. JATAMA.ORG
STD devastated the community around the Newmont operation, and will be applied again by Newcrest Mining Ltd in North Halmahera and North Sulawesi, and by BHP Billiton in Gag Island, a site that UNESCO has shortlisted as a World Heritage Site for its biodiversity riches.

Submarine Tailings Disposal destroys the environment and coastal communities, and must be banned.

Background- Newmont Minahasa Raya, North Sulawesi

In 1996, production of NMR,s gold mines commenced with great promises of community prosperity and economic growth but instead caused severe environmental devstation and numerous human right violations. At no point did NMR or the government of North Sulawesi consult with the communities or involve them in decision-making. This violates the principle of prior, informed consent, which dictates participation from the community in resource projects.

NMR,s profits since 1999 have been $1.3 million/ day. By contrast, the communities of Buyat Bay and Ratatotok have been left impoverished by unfair compensation for their land (Rp 250/m2 or $0.02) and a collapsed fishery caused by pollution.

NMR applied Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD), a method of dumping toxic mine waste into the ocean. The company installed a pipeline for waste disposal 9km from the mine site to the bay, at a depth of 82 metres, and disposed 2000 tons of mine waste every day.

The communities are now facing a health crisis, a direct result of STD. NMR used a cyanide-leaching process, which resulted in the contamination of water sources with various toxic materials, including mercury and arsenic. Buyat villagers suffer from a variety of health problems including tumours, on their entire body, severe headaches and birth defects.

On March 30, the communities in North Sulawesi staged a demonstration and submitted a statement to PT NMR and the provincial government of North Sulawesi demanding:
_ compensation to the people of Ratatotok for their land.
_ environmental rehabilitation in the villages of Ratatotok and Buyat Bay.
_ economic compensation for the loss of livelihoods suffered by the communities of Ratatotok and Buyat Bay.
_ health services for the communities around Buyat Bay for the next 30 years.

How You Can Help Email or fax this sample letter to the various recipients listed. JATAM will also distribute your letter to several levels of local government throughout Indonesia.
====

***ACTION ALERT***!!!

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to express support for the villages of Buyat Bay and Ratatotok in North Sulawesi, Indonesia and call on the government of Indonesia to force Newmont Minahasa Raya to conduct mine closure in a manner that meets international standards.

Newmont Minahasa Raya will close its mine site this year, leaving behind many environmental and social problems for the community. Recently, the community expressed their demands to NMR and the provincial government of North Sulawesi to compensate them for the loss of their land and livelihoods, to ensure that environmental rehabilitation be conducted for the area surrounding the mining location, and health services be provided for the communities.

For the seven years of operation, Newmont Minahasa Raya employed the controversial Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD), a method of waste disposal that is banned in many countries for the negative impacts to the environment. This STD operation dumped 2000 tons of mining wastes daily into Buyat Bay, destroying the marine environment , and causing the collapse of the local fishery, the only source of livelihood for the community. This violates the community,s right to a sustainable livelihood.

The community is also facing a health crisis, with several people ill with tumours, severe headaches, and birth defects, all symptoms of heavy metal contamination. There are no health services for the community.

The violation of rights by Newmont Minahasa Raya of the community sets a dangerous precedent for other communities and provides a tragic example of the use of harmful technology and its human impacts. At no point in the process were the communities of Buyat Bay or Ratatotok involved in decision making, nor were they consulted on the price they were offered for their land, a shocking 250 Rp or $0.02/m2, nor were they informed of the health risks they were to face with the mine operations.

Therefore, I write this letter to:

1. Demand Newmont Minahasa Raya be held accountable to the communities afflicted by providing health services and fair compensation for lost land and livelihoods

2. Call on the government of Indonesia to enforce legitimate mechanisms to force PT NMR to conduct mine closure that meets international standards

3. Demand the Indonesian government prohibit the use of Submarine Tailings Disposal in Papua, North Halmahera and North Sulawesi.

4. Call for the international ban on the use of Submarine Tailings Disposal, a practise that devastates the environment and coastal communities

Sincerely,

=====
President of Republic of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri
Fax: (+62 21) 345 7782
E-mail: presiden@ri.go.id
(don,t add a what seems to be a missing ?t,!)

Members of the Deep Sea Tailings Placement Steering Committee
ACMER (Australian Center for Mining Environmental Research):
Dr. Clive Bell e-mail: c.bell@mailbox.uq.edu.su
Keith Eigeland e-mail: acmer.project@uq.edu.au
Dr. Harvey D. van Veldhuizen, Hvanveldhuizen@worldbank.org

The World Bank Group
Attn: JamesD. Wolfensohn, President
fax: (202) 477-6391
email: jwolfensohn@worldbank.org

Newmont Mining Corporation
Attn: Wayne Murdy
President
1700 Lincoln Street
Denver, Colorado
USA 80203
Telephone: (303) 863-7414
Fax: (303) 837-5837

More on our No Mining in Protected Forest Areas campaign here!

JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang)
Mining Advocacy Network
Jl. Mampang Prapatan II No. 30
RT 04/07 — Jakarta 12790
INDONESIA
E-mail: susan@jatam.org
www.jatam.org

Cambodia

Where have all the fish gone?

The mighty Mekong is drying up – and so is the river’s rich harvest. Vast new dams in China could be to blame. Fred Pearce reports from Cambodia 21 April 2004

Once, the world’s rivers teemed with fish. No longer. Around the globe, dams and other river engineering projects have drastically reduced most inland
fisheries. But on one mighty river, the Mekong in South-east Asia, half a century of warfare had kept the dam-builders away. As a result, even the poorest people in countries such as Cambodia can still dine regularly on
wild river fish.

But now the engineers have moved on to the river, and the effects are already being felt. Scientists blame new Chinese hydroelectric dams for the record low levels of the river this spring, for weird fluctuations in river flows, and above all for a collapse in fish catches. Is this the end for one of the world’s last great untamed rivers?

The Mekong flows for 4,500km (2,800 miles) out of the Tibetan ice fields and through the mountains of Yunan in southern China, before tumbling into the flood plains of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and entering the sea through its delta in Vietnam. Its flows are highly seasonal, with 30 times more water in the river during the monsoon than in the dry season.

So great is the disparity that, in Cambodia, the swollen river forces one of its major tributaries, the Tonle Sap, to go into reverse from June to September. This unique spectacle takes place right in front of the Royal
Palace in Phnom Penh, from where the Tonle Sap flows upstream for 200km, forming a great lake near the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. The floodwaters then spread out, engulfing the surrounding rainforest.

The waters carry fertile sediment, fish larvae and fingerlings into the forest, which turns into a vast fecund nursery ground for fish – the source of one of the world’s biggest inland fisheries.

Here you will find the last of the Mekong catfish, the largest freshwater fish, which grows to three metres long and can weigh more than a cow. There’s also the striped snakehead, which lives among tree roots and in lakes and swamps, and is known for its ability to slither overlandbetween pools. Of greater value to millions of Cambodians is the fact that the flooded forest is also the breeding ground for the trey riel (Henicorhynchus siamensis), a sardine-like fish found in almost every net on the river.

As the forest slowly drains each autumn, the fattened fish migrate throughout the Mekong river system, where local fishermen, many living in floating villages, know almost to the hour when the fish will pass by. The peak moment of the annual flood on the Tonle Sap is precisely 10 daysbefore the January full moon.

The intensity of fishing on the Tonle Sap in particular is extraordinary. Nets stretch for miles around the edge of the flooded forest. And near Phnom Penh, small wicker “bags” lowered into the river can catch half a ton of fish in 20 minutes.

About 50 million people in the river’s lower basin – in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos – depend on it for food and income. Cambodians alone catch about two million tons of fish a year and are more dependent on wild protein than almost any nation on earth.

Yet scientists agree that, while the river is heavily fished, it is probably not overfished. The current levels of fishing are sustainable provided that the annual flood “pulse” is maintained. But that is increasingly in doubt.

In November, I toured the Tonle Sap with Eric Baran, who is investigating the Mekong for the WorldFish Centre, an international organisation that researches food security and poverty eradication. He says the river is in crisis, with dwindling flows triggering declining fish yields. The fishermen we met told the same story. Their catches had never been so poor, and they all blamed the low river-flows that began last summer. One, heading home to
his floating village with empty nets, told us that “when the water is shallow in front of the Royal Palace, there are no fish in the river”.

Nguyn Van Xia, a riverside buyer for the main fish wholesale market for Phnom Penh, said that with catches at such low levels, prices were three times higher than usual. The Mekong River Commission, an intergovernmental scientific body based in Phnom Penh, reported this year that fish catches between November and March were only half the usual levels. And, as prices
soared, the poor went hungry.

The crisis is evident everywhere along the river. For three months, low river levels have been exposing hidden sandbars, leaving ferries beached. The Mekong population of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin has been marooned in
shrinking pools.

Poor monsoon rains last year take some of the blame. But the Mekong River Commission, which China has refused to join, has little doubt that Chinese dams upstream play a role. After an emergency meeting last month, it called
on China to release critical information on the operation of its dams.

China has so far built two giant dams on the main stem of the Mekong. The first, at Manwan, was completed 11 years ago. The subsequent filling of its reservoir coincided with a period of unusually low flows downstream. The
second dam was completed last year at Dachaoshan. “There is an assumption that the two dams are the cause of the situation,” says Surachai Sasisuwan, the director of water resources at the Commission.

Some say the dams cannot be blamed because only about one-fifth of the river’s annual flow comes from China. But during the dry season, this proportion rises to between 50 and 70 per cent. And the dams provide their own unambiguous effect on day-to-day river flows.

The dams are all providing hydroelectricity to power China’s economic boom. As the turbines are switched on and off to meet hourly changes in demand, their reservoirs empty and fill and the river downstream sees fluctuations in water levels of up to a metre a day. “Since the dams began operating, river levels have gone up and down much faster,” says Hans Guttman, a scientist working for the commission.

Perhaps even more important for the future of the river’s fisheries is its load of fertile sediment. According to Matti Kummu of the Helsinki University of Technology, who is modelling the river’s hydrology, as much as half of the river’s natural annual sediment load comes from China, and an increasing amount is being captured behind the new dams. He believes that the sediment, which is carried mostly in the monsoon floods, is critical to the fertility of the Mekong’s fisheries, and especially to those in the
Tonle Sap.

There is some irony in this concern, as extreme flood levels are usually perceived to be a problem. But, even after the reservoir of the latest dam is filled, the day-to-day operation of the dams is likely to have continuing
effects. Chinese engineers forecast that it will reduce the annual flood and increase the dry-season flow. And it is this diminution of the flood pulse, the lifeblood of the river’s ecosystem, that is of most concern to fisheries
scientists. “Engineers think of flood extremes as bad news, but in Asia they are a good thing because they drive the natural ecosystem on which millions depend for their food,” Baran says. Guttman agrees. “There is a strong
relationship between flood flows and fish migration,” he says. “Flattening the flood peaks would have a severe effect on the river’s ecosystem.”

A nightmare scenario would be for the flood to subside so much that the Tonle Sap stops reversing its flow during the monsoon. That would dry up the river’s major nursery for fish.

The battle for the Mekong is gathering pace. Engineers see the Mekong is one of the world’s last great unexploited sources of hydroelectricity and a potential powerhouse for the industrialisation of South-east Asia. Two more
Chinese dams are already under construction, and at least four more are planned. The biggest, at Xiaowan, began construction in 2002. It will dwarf the others, rising 300 metres above the river and creating a reservoir 150km
long.

Chris Barlow, the manager of the commission’s fisheries research, sees this policy as very short-sighted. “Fish are permanent, if we manage them wisely,” he says. “But a dam has a short life; 30 years or less. Even when the dam is dismantled, the fishery may never come back.”

Governments, he says, are easily seduced by the prospect of abundant energy.. But fish on the Mekong are a vital source of food for millions of the region’s people and an essential source of income for its poorest citizens.
“The only alternative they have, if the fisheries disappear, is working all hours in a textiles factory in Phnom Penh,” Barlow says. Full nets or crowded factories: that is the choice.

21 April 2004 09:25

(c) 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

From: mritchie@iatp.org

S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Sundarbans going extinct

Independent surveys of the Environment Ministry, Khulna University and World Conservation Union detected a five-eight fold increase in salinity in the forest. Salinity levels have gradually increased across the southern part of the country as well, writes S Khan

Increasing water and soil salinity levels are killing rare trees and wildlife in Bangladesh?s world famous Sundarbans forests, with officials blaming the destruction on neighboring India?s dam building initiatives.

The biggest casualty are the exotic Sundari trees after which the world?s largest mangrove forests are named. The trees which are fast decaying, grow only in the Indian subcontinent.

The Sundarbans is a UN World Heritage Site located in the southeastern coastal belt, and spreads over India and Bangladesh.

Alarmingly, new studies reveal that the lack of fresh water from upstream rivers, which come from India, is destroying these trees and animals in the Sundarbans.

Independent surveys of the Environment Ministry, Khulna University and World Conservation Union detected a five-eight fold increase in salinity in the forest. Salinity levels have gradually increased across the southern part of the country as well.

Cautions Environment Minister Shajahan Siraj, “If this continues, we may have to consider relocating 15 million people from the southwestern coastal region.” He blames India for the degradation, remarking that, “The Sundarbans is becoming the casualty of dams built by India. The Farakka dam in West Bengal is responsible for the lack of sweet water in river-dominated Bangladesh.”

The increasing salinity levels will impact not just the prized forest, but also Bangladesh?s agricultural yield, avers the minister.

But for now, the damage is most visible in the Sundarbans, where the “top dying disease” syndrome, triggered by a rise in salinity, has severely affected a large portion of the Sundari trees, which comprise 72 percent of the forest.

The scientific name of the Sundari tree is Heritiera fomes.

To assess the damage, professor Dr Mohammad Abdur Rahman led a study on the Sundari trees under the Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project of the Environment Ministry.

He reveals, “The top dying disease of the Sundari is considered the most serious of all tree ailments in Bangladesh.”

“Nearly 95 percent of the root surface cannot absorb water and nutrients because of salinity. It is only about five percent of the root surface that does the work, endangering the life of the plant” explains Rahman.

Apart from the problems surrounding Sundari trees, timber thefts, poaching of trees and wildlife as well as mismanagement is causing serious damage to the biodiversity of the forest. Timber, superior to teak wood, is stolen to build boats and domestic furniture. Since the plant checks soil erosion in tidal forests, its loss severely impacts the Sundar-bans. Once home to around 450 rivers and canals, several of the water bodies in the Sundarbans have now dried up. The changes have drastically affected the once abundant population of crocodiles, only 200 of whom now remain in the forest, according to a study. Fishes have also depleted rapidly in the rivers, mainly because of largescale fishing, especially for exports.

The increasing levels of salinity are killing tiger as well. According to Khasru Chowdhury, tiger tracker and Sundarbans expert, “In the last two years, at least three Bengal tigers died of liver cirrhosis caused due to salinity.”

As for the top dying disease, it was first discovered in 14 of the forest?s 55 zones in 1985. Ten years later, it had spread to 27 such pockets and late last year, 42 of the forest?s compartments were host to infected trees.

A study says increased salinity affects the availability and uptake of soil nutrients by plants, triggering the disease.

Observes Dr Ainun Nishat, resident representative of the World Conservation Union and a leading water expert, “If we cannot stop this change, the Sundarbans will no longer have Sundari trees.”

Manmade structures on Indian rivers that enter Bangladesh have gradually reduced water in this region, officials here claim. High levels of sedimentation are clogging canals that have for three decades been the veins of the forest, spread over 5,770 sq kilometers of land and over 1,700 sq kilometers of waterways in Bangladesh.

One study, conducted between 2001 and 2003, also found a shortfall of other common soil nutrients, leading to the spread of fungus and a variety of insects among the trees. The Sundarbans is host to 32 species of mammals, 35 types of serpents, eight amphibian varieties and 300 species of birds.

Source: The News Today, March 25, 2004

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Sundari vanishing fast

Shakhawat Hossain Back from the Sunderbans

With the Sundari trees vanishing fast due to the outbreak of the top dying disease, the bio-diversity and the ecology of the Sunderbans, the largest mangrove forest on the earth, is now critically endangered mainly owing to the ever-increasing soil and water salinity.

The soil and water salinity of the Sunderbans, the only mangrove forest known as the sanctuary of the world famous Royal Bengal Tigers, is increasing at an alarming rate and it has already reached at its peak just because of the Farakka Barrage built by neighboring India in the 1960s.

As a result, the Sundari (Heritiera), the main species and the most common tree in the Sunderbans, which spreads into Bangladesh and Indian state of West Bengal, is gradually being vanished, putting the flora and fauna of the forest in absolute peril.

At least 5 to 6 per cent of the total Sundari tress across the Sunderbans is now suffering from the top dying disease and around 50 per cent of the total Sundari trees has already been affected in the most affected areas of high salinity of soil and water, said Prof. Dr. Mohammad Abdur Rahman, Director of Centre for Integrated Studies on the Sundarbans, Khulna University.

Out of the 57 compartments, 42 compartments have already been affected by the top dying disease and the severely affected compartments are 37, 33, 40, 19, 36, 18, 45, 34, 22, 8, 20, 5, 31, 38, 25, 29, 32, 13, 26, 43, 28, 27,17, 44, 10, 30, 24, 4, 9, 16, 35, 2,3, 14, 39, 1, 11, 21, 6,7,12 and 50.

Talking to The News Today on board during a trip to the Sunderbans, Dr. Abdur Rahman categorically said that soil salinity plays a vital role and governs the distribution of Sundari in the Sunderbans. He was referring to his recent study on top dying disease, which was accepted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Regarding the causes of the top dying disease, he explained that burial of pneumatophores, production of reduced number of pneumataphores and lenticels on the pneumatophores create condition of reduced soil aeration affecting metabolism in the root system. This is considered as the primary causes of top dying of Sundari in the Sunderbans, he added.

Deficiencies of micronutrients and the presence of higher level of calcium are also associated with top dying of Sundari. Besides, greater opening in the canopy, and Oran infestation are also associated with severity of top dying of Sundari, said Dr. Mohammad Abdur Rahman.

He also said, salinity, soil aeration depletion and micronutrient nutrient deficiency are altogether responsible for the degradation of the Sundari trees.

He also recommended to the government to remove the Sundari trees affected with top tying disease saying that removal of such trees is necessary to reduce further build-up of top dying and progressive deterioration of health of the Sunderbans.

In this regard, he also said that top dying Sundari trees suffer from further degradation induced by decaying fungi and insects and cause degradation of 42.18 per cent of the trees, which is a heavy economic loss.

Top dying Sundari trees with 50 per cent or more canopy damage should only be included for salvage felling. All dead and decaying trees should be removed from the forest ground in a bid to reduce the change for build up of wood decay fungi and, finally, thus reduce the extend of degradation owing to the top dying disease, he also opined.

The Sunderbans and its Sundari trees along with other flora and fauna would be in a disastrous situation, if the flow of sweet water in and around the largest mangrove forest is not increased to a maximum level very soon, said Dr. Rahman warning that the bio-diversity and the ecology of the entire country would be critically endangered if neighboring India implements its river linking project in the upper stream.

Source: The News Today, March 06, 2004

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From: Zakir Kibria

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Poaching: A threat to Bengal tigers

Poaching and illegal logging have decimated the Royal Bengal Tigers and destroyed their habitats in the past few years, prompting them to attack humans and forage for food in villages, write S Khan and Alastir Lawson

The first-ever census of Royal Bengal Tigers at the world?s largest mangrove forests, the Sundarbans, reveals that this Bangladesh sanctuary boasts of around 500 of them, double the number of big cats found anywhere else.

The Sundarbans, declared a World Natural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is now facing a problem of population pressure, from both tigers and human beings.

With over six million people living in these forests ? 3 million in Bangladesh and 3.5 million in India ? the Sundarbans is experiencing economic exploitation that threatens to destroy its biodiversity.

Poaching and illegal logging have decimated the Royal Bengal Tigers and destroyed their habitats in the past few years, prompting them to attack humans and forage for food in villages.

Also, the highly saline river water has damaged the liver of many animals. Nine tigers died last year due to high levels of salinity caused by decreasing water flow from neighboring upstream India.

Last month, 32 teams of surveyors scoured the wildlife and snake-infested dense jungles, in search of pug marks. They collected a record 1,546 tiger pug marks and spotted seven of the felines.

According to Forest and Environment Minister, Shajahan Siraj, who inaugurated the census, “These pug marks will be analyzed by a computer program to determine the actual number of tigers scientifically.”

Last week, while disclosing the primary findings of the survey, partly financed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Siraj claimed, “From our experience, we can now say the number of tigers in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans alone will be close to 500.” Bangladesh?s area of the Sundarbans extends across 5,770 square kilometers of land and 1,700 sq km of waterways.

A survey in January in the Indian part of the Sundarbans, which extends over 4,330 sq km of land and 1,700 sq km of waterways, spotted over 1,400 pug- marks. Six officials from the Indian Forest Department visited Bangladesh in February to share their experiences.

Analyzes tiger tracker Khasru Chowdhury, who has been working in the Sundarbans from 1974, “The signs are interesting. Even a conservative estimate on the number of tigers in the Sundarbans puts the forest?s status at a much higher position than any other forest in the world.”

He adds, “The closest competitor is the forest in Sumatra (Indonesia) that has about 250 tigers.” Chowdhury thinks the Bangladesh part of the forests can ideally accommodate just 200 tigers, food and territory wise.

And, what about the margin for error?

Explains M. Aminul Islam, biodiversity expert of the UNDP, “As we are using the same software in India and Bangladesh, there is no chance of counting the same tiger twice.

The number of tigers will help us formulate an action plan to save the Sundarbans.”

Both countries will formally announce their findings in July. Bangladesh is collaborating with India in saving the heritage of the Sundarbans, 40 percent of which is located in India?s West Bengal.

“This forest is changing due to various reasons and we need to monitor it and understand it properly to keep it alive,” notes Anisuzzaman Khan, chief of the biodiversity unit of The World Conservation Union.

In a bid to save the endangered Sundarbans, the Bangladesh government has also taken up a US $70 million biodiversity protection project to develop tourism and set up eco-huts here.

Interestingly, in 1969, British wildlife expert Guy Mountford visited the Sundarbans to prepare a list of local wildlife. He was skeptical about the number of tigers ? more than 300 ? estimated by forest officials, putting the figure between 50 and 100 instead.

Earlier, the United Nations hosted a one-day conference on protecting one of the world?s largest mangrove forests, the Sundarbans, which spans India and Bangladesh.

The conference in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, discussed ways in which the two countries can cooperate to preserve the Sundarbans, which is home to a wide range of wildlife, including Royal Bengal tigers, crocodiles and dolphins. The Bangladeshi Government has warned that the environmental threat to the forest is becoming increasingly grave.

The idea behind this conference was that India and Bangladesh could, for the first time, work together to conserve the Sundarbans, which is one of the last great coastal wetlands in the world. The region today includes two heritage sites, one in Bangladesh and one in India.

The Bangladeshi Environment Secretary says that failure to work together will have disastrous consequences for one of the most famous Sundarbans residents. “The Royal Bengal tiger is not only a symbol, ” he said.

“It is very close to our hearts and the tragedy is that this magnificent specimen has been slowly dying off,” he said. Both Bangladesh and India agreed that the Sundarbans was an environmental Taj Mahal. They accept that the forest is threatened by pollution and human encroachment.

The two countries had carried out extensive research on either side of the border but had so far never shared their findings. India and Bangladesh will work together in a biodiversity project in the Sunderbans mangrove forest.

This is part of the world?s largest delta formed from sediments deposited by several major rivers including the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. Bengal tigers are an endangered species and the project might help them survive in their home habitat.

There are more than 250 Royal Bengal tigers in the Indian side of Sundarbans. The project includes studying the behaviour of Bengal tigers and to find out why some of them become man-eaters. Of the 9,000 sq.kms of the Sunderbans forest, nearly 4,200 sq.kms fall within India and the rest in Bangladesh.

The Sundarban Tiger Project Director in India, Pradip Vyas, says that UNESCO and the UN Foundation will pay $125,000 for the preparation of this project. A report on the feasibility of the project has to be ready by April next year. Forest officials of the two countries will meet up to discuss how the project will be implemented.

Mr Vyas says the study of breeding behaviour and feeding habits of Royal Bengal tigers forms part of the project. More than 30 people have been killed by tigers during the last two years on the Indian side of the Sundarbans. There are man-eaters on the Bangladeshi side too. Mr Vyas said some harmful effluents enter the Sunderbans from nearby areas which may be responsible for polluting the water and this could be affecting tiger behaviour.

He says whether the presence of saline water in the Sundarbans affects the behaviour of the tigers is also being studied. Mr Vyas says the tigers are fond of swimming across the area?s many streams and channels to different islands within the forest. Officials are also trying to find out whether saline water may be responsible for the loss of certain types of trees in the area. The project also includes educating the local people in order to minimise poaching.

Officials say poachers take the help of local villagers in hunting the tigers. The forests are critically important for a large number of species including the endangered tigers.

The project will provide alternate employment opportunities for more than three million people who live on 53 islands in the Sunderbans area.

Most of these people depend on fishing for their livelihood. The Sundarbans authorities in India say fishing is proving difficult to sustain because of falling water levels. Experts say the Sundarbans area is important for conservation since it is large enough to maintain a self-sustainable tiger population. The Sundarbans forests are well-known for tigers, spotted deer, wild boars and monitor lizards.

The mangrove forests also provide the main nursery for shrimps along the coast of eastern India and Bangladesh. And its creeks are the spawning ground for many fish.

ñOneWorld feature/BBC

Source: The News Today, March 20, 2004

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From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

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The Sundarbans: the new episode
Thu Hong

The wonder of nature: Feeling too small in front of an immense sea? Feeling fearful and adventurous roaming around in a vast forest? Finding relaxed and revitalised hearing a songbird? Mind cool down in the morning-broken fog? Heart-robbed by the marvelous sunset? You will have all that feeling and emotion once coming to the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world which stretches along both sides of the border, Indian state of West Bengal and southwestern Bangladesh.

The Sundarbans extends over an area of 6,017 square kilometers, of which 3,600 square kilometers lie in West Bengal and 2,417 square kilometers in Bangladesh, counting more than half of the reserved forest of the country. Bangladesh owns about two-thirds of the forest that makes about 45 per cent of the country?s total productive forest area. In Bangladesh, the forest is bound by the Bhaleswari river in the east, the Bay of Bengal to the south, Khulna division to the north, and the Raimangal and Haringhata rivers to the west. Administered by the Forest Department, Ministry of Environment and Forest, the area is divided into four forest ranges, namely Chandpai, Sarankhola, Khulna and Burigoalini.

The Sundarbans is a real attraction with pristine environment, divine nature and unusual scenery of impenetrable jungle forests and maze of rivers. About one-third of the total area of this forest is covered in water with many turns and open-ups. Wherever you are, you will be amazed by its fauna and flora, going deep in the forest or cruising over the network of estuaries, channels, creeks, and large tidal rivers, all discharging into the Bay of Bengal. Look up the sky, you may see the seagull or goose; look up the tree in an island, you may catch the sight of small minivet bird. Walk along the riverbanks or in a clearing, there are monkeys and spotted deer which is one of important wild animals in the Sundarbans. The spotted deer or Chital is reputed to be the most beautiful deer in the world and they have favoured the swamp forests of the Sundarbans as their habitat. There are an estimated 30,000 spotted deer. Travelling along the river, you may see the crocodile.

There is a popular belief that the Sundarbans derived its name from the Sundari (Heritiera foams) trees, a major component of the forest. Sundari trees that grow here to about 25m in height. These trees are very straight, have tiny branches and keep well in water. They become rock hard when submerged for a long time and are thus very suitable for building with. Sundaris are mainly used as shipbuilding materials, electric poles, railway sleepers and house building materials.

The Sundarbans has about 283 species of fish, 229 species of crustaceans and 211 species of mollusks. There are reportedly 226 species of birds, 32 species of mammals, 425 species of wild animals and 334 species of trees and plants. The most important wild animal in this vital coastal wetland is the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.

Save the fame

The Royal Bengal Tiger is the pride of Bangladesh. It was aptly named by the British as it has been known to grow to a body length of more than 2m, has extraordinary strength and agility, and is considered to be the most majestic of tigers. It has a life span of 16 years and prey on deer, boars and fish stranded on the riverbeds at low tide.

In 2000, the Government of Bangladesh set aside three specific areas as tiger reserves. But there have been reports of eco-devastation and animal killing, especially the illegal poaching of tigers and deer. In view of surreptitious killing of tigers there was a concern that the number of Royal Bengal tigers was dwindling. Mindless devastation of areas within and on the coastline of the Sundarbans further reinforced this fear. According to one official in the Forest Department, of 8 species of tiger, 3 are extinct. Moreover, referring to the number of this wild animal, different figures are given out. The Department of Forest of Bangladesh said the estimate was 450. The local people, however, estimated 600 tigers are there in the Sundarbans. There has never been any concrete step and proper project to thoroughly count the tiger population through a scientific census, which is required for the management of the forest?s wild animals. Against such scenario, a tiger census is essential.

And first joint India-Bangladesh tiger census was launched recently, served as a timely action. The Minister for Environment and Forest, Shahjahan Siraj, formerly inaugurated the census at a ceremony at Chandpai range of the Sundarbans on February 26. This tiger census is a 50,000-USD project funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of the “Bio-diversity Strategy Action Plan”. There is a controlling centre in Khulna, plus medical group and moderating group mobile in the forests and 32 field groups searching tigers? paw prints or “pugmarks”. From the collected prints, scientists can ascertain the age, weight and gender of individual animals, and estimate their numbers. The pugmark method involves collecting tiger?s paw print by making plaster impression during low tide of prints left in the mangrove. The group finishes each plaster by filling a form denoting date, place, position, settling of the pugmarks, as well as some administrative numbers. Finally the experts analyse the marks on the computer once the prints are scanned in. Roughly 500 tiger paw prints were collected after the seven-day census.

To conduct the census, officials from the Indian Forest Department came to Bangladesh to share with their counterparts their experiences from the census already completed in the Indian part of the Sundarbans.

“A full report detailing the state of the Royal Bengal tiger in the Sundarbans would be ready by July,” said Dr. M. Aminul Islam, Sustainable Development Advisor of the UNDP?s local mission.

More to concern and conserve

For the time being, there is not only the danger of losing tiger but there are several more things to concern as well. The Sundarbans eco-system is deteriorating due to population pressures and the weak enforcement of existing regulations. Major threats in the sanctuaries are the armed dacoits who work in collusion with the illegal wood-cutters, pirates, poachers, and plunderers looting the scarce resources of the forest.

The forest guards are equipped with inadequate arms, logistics and manpower. Md. Islam Mia, a boatman-cum-forest guard in Sarankhola range, has only a gun to do his task of being the watchdog of tree cutting and tiger catching. The situation in Chandpai range is the same as Md. Safiqul Islam, who works at Harbaria patrol post, is equipped with 303 series of gunfire dated 1978. “Some of my colleagues? shooters do not even work anymore,” said Md. Safiqul Islam. He alongside with other seven guards cover two compartments (equal to 335 square kilometers) of the forest and all they got is 5 shooters. Not only the absence of sufficient training, equipment and manpower, low salary of the forest guards is another reason for weak protection of the forest. The forest guards earn Tk. 3,000 to Tk.4,000 while they may be offered an amount of money double or three times more than that amount to turn blind eyes on cutting Sundari trees.

Another prevailing problem in the forest is salinity intrusion causing top-dying of Sundari trees. As the forest areas are inundated by tidal water the salinity of the river water increases. And ingress of salinity into Sundarbans soil continues unabated since India started withdrawing waters of the Ganges river affecting world?s biggest mangrove forest.

According to Dr. M. Abdur Rahman of Khulna University, the Sundarbans suffered about 42 per cent wood loss due to top-dying and no solution to this problem has yet been found.

Amid such concerning problems, the Indo-Bangladesh joint tiger census marks its dramatic step among the first activities between the two countries under a cross-border initiative aimed at preserving the bio-diversity of the boundless beautiful forest. “We believe that conservation of the bio-diversity in the Sundarbans must be conducted following the two-country approach and it is not possible without a joint effort. The forest a political boundary, but the animals do not abide that boundary,” said UNDP?s Sustainable Development Advisor M. Aminul Islam.

As the Sundarbans is a transboundary ecosystem, the census is beyond national level, bringing two nations together in order to share scientific information, knowledge and techniques towards joint forest management with a view to preserving their single ecosystem. An encouraging move of the initiative is the fact that the forest officials of both the countries have agreed to conduct regular tiger census once in every two years, a beginning of mutual cooperation between the two neighbours in the field of bio-diversity conservation in the region.

Thu Hong is a VFEJ (Vietnam Forum of Environmental Journalists) Fellow working with the FEJB (Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh) under South-South Exchange Programme of Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ).

Source: Weekly Holiday, March 19, 2004

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From: Zakir Kibria

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ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER AVERTED BY HALTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CLUSTER VILLAGE FOR THE LANDLESS ON ACCRETED LAND (CHAR) IN THE SUNDARBAN:
DEMAND FOR RE-EXCAVATION OF BHOLA RIVER DISREGARDED

Babul Sardar, Bagerhat:
In total disregard of the Forest and Environmental laws of the country, establishment of a human habitat in the “Morabholar Char? at the eastern end of the Sundarban has commenced in the name of rehabilitating the
homeless. The Bhola river is considered as a protective barrier for the Sundarban on its eastern side. Instead of re-excavating the silted up river, the initiative to build a Cluster Village has attracted instant reaction from environmental activists.

According to them, this disastrous step will lead to gradual occupation of forest land, extensive illegal extraction of forest resources and destruction of endangered species, causing irreversible damage to the world famous mangrove forest and disastrous environmental consequences. Work has recently started on establishing a Cluster Village for homeless, uprooted people on about 30 acres (12 hectares) of land on the bed of the silted up river Bhola near the Dhansagar Forest Station under the Chandpai Range of the East Sundarban Division.

It is learnt that, in addition to cash grant from the “Adarsha Gram? project, 400 metric tonnes of
rice/wheat have been allocated for the project. The local administration has declared it as Khas (state-owned) land and recommended the project. What is surprising is that on March 4, 2004, the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, while on a tour of the area, hadrecommended that such a village should not be established at the site adjacent to the forest. Moreover, in accordance with the Forest and Environment Conservation Ordinance (Ordinance No. PRM 4/7/87/99/263), establishment of a Cluster Village type of permanent structure is totally prohibited within
a radius of 10 km from the Sundarban perimetre.

Moreover, Bhola river is part and parcel of the protected Sundarban Reserved Forest. As such, it is necessary to announce the area as “De-reserved? before establishing human habitation on the Bhola riverbed. But concerned sources say that the process of building a Cluster Village hasstarted without observing any of the formalities.
On the other hand, the project is seen as the result of selfish motive of some vested interests who want to cover up their evil designs under the cover of rehabilitating homeless and uprooted families. Concerned sources
gave the opinion that even if a permanent habitat is constructed in the bed of this dead river close to the Bay of Bengal, it is likely to be
washed away by any tidal wave accompanying the next cyclone.

Being close to the forest, both illegal entry into the forest and attacks by foraging tigers are likely to increase. Over-extraction of forest resources and illegal poaching of protected fauna will increase, which will be against
the interests of the on-going Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project. Moreover, if the village is established on the silted up riverbed, it is likely to signal a “Gold Rush? to occupy the rest of the riverbed, which may also motivate a “Rush? to occupy the Sundarban.

According to Mr. Ali Kabir Haider, Conservator of Forests, Khulna region (Both East and West Sundarban Divisions), re-excavation of Bhola river is absolutely necessary for protection of the Sundarban. He said that a project for the re-excavation of the river is already in processing stage.
Since the very inception of the Sundarban Reserved Forest, the rivers Bhola, Khorma, Chechengaon and other rivers, canals and estuaries bordering the Sundarban are part of the Sundarban itself, while at the same time, a protective barrier for the forest, he said. The Conservator
of Forest stated that according to existing laws, construction of any permanent structure in this area is prohibited.

Mr. Md. Tarikul Islam, Divisional Forest Officer, Sundarban East Division said that he had repeatedly written to the concerned authorities against this kind of activity. Environmental activists are also angry at this kind of disregard for the laws of the country. While hundreds of millions are being spent for conserving the forest and its bio-diversity, such a disregard for the protection of the forest on government initiative will
endanger our very existence, they say.

The Sundarban is not merely a protective barrier for the Southern coastal region, it is also a World Heritage Site. Nobody has the right to occupy any portion of it. They demanded that instead of implementing a project
that will cause irreversible damage to the forest and the environment, they called for immediate re-excavation of Bhola river.

The Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat, Mr. Pious Costa is reported to have said that the silted up riverbed has been declared as Khas (State-owned) land on the basis of recommendation by the local Union Parishad. But, he
said, that on receipt of a letter from the Divisional Forest Officer, Sundarban East Division some 3-4 days ago, he said that a survey will be conducted to determine whether the area belongs to the forest or not. On being asked as to why such a project has been started in a sensitive area
without such a survey, he said that it may be because of delay in receiving a timely letter from the Forest Department.

However, the Divisional Forest Officer, East Sundarban Division said that several letters were sent during the recent months asking the authorities not to implement such a project at the site.

Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu, Coordinator,CDP,Khulna,and
Coordinator, SBCP Watch Group.

From: cdp@khulna.bangla.net

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Mangrove grabbing stopped for now
The Daily Star, April 25, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Human settlement on the upriver sandy bed of Morabhola in east Sundarban came to a stop on Sunday, three days after an order had been issued by Bagerhat deputy commissioner Pius Costa.
A local union parishad chairman and his cohorts captured 30 acres of the land that came under the Dhan Sagar Station of Chandpur range of the mangrove forest. The sources said a Bagherhat first class magistrate Saidur Rahman went to the spot on Sunday and stopped the habitation construction work.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

EAST ASIA

China

The impact of shrimp farming on China Mangroves and their peripheral marsh
–The Mangrove Project of Greenwild Association of Xiamen University Reporter: Liu Yi

Before making an analysis, I have to give a general explanation. First of all, in recent years, the most pressing problem about Mangroves in China is not building dykes for cultivating (including shrimp farming), but the influence of urbanization (including building roads, harbors, and so on). In 1980s,building dykes for cultivating was in full wing. Secondly, I haven’t got comprehensive data covering all mangroves in China. Therefore, I make a preliminary analysis based on the data I’ve got. Also, that is why I devote myself to building up a national “Publicity and Protection network” all over China.

Harmfulness I: Occupancy and destructive damage.

Hainan Province
In mangrove sanctuary of Dongzhai Harbor and peripheral areas, mangroves are distributed mainly over Meilan Town.
By September 2002, the acreage under shrimp farming has reached 5850 acres, including 4300 acres lowland dykes, 1200 acres highland dykes, and 350 acres highland dykes changed from lowland dykes which were mainly remodeled before 1998. While a large number of farmland were transformed into shrimp dykes, a proportion of mangrove swamp were faced the same fate.
Please follow the two pieces of news below:
_ On 25th, February, 2003, at Fangyuan village, near the Dongzhai Harbor sanctuary, journalists saw villagers burning the Acrostichum aureurm (a kind of mangroves), pumping up the water, preparing for shrimp farming. And villagers said to the journalists, “The land here belongs to us, and we’re preparing to cultivate shrimps.” In 1997, the local bureau of forestry had prevented the collective behavior of damaging mangrove forests for cultivating shrimps. However, such damaging phenomena resumed again last year,
_ On 26th, February, 2003, at the Dongzhai Harbor mangrove scenery area, journalists discovered a 5 acres shrimp dyke at about 2 meters away from the river course at the west entrance, which was newly used. And the fallen mangrove had been withered and yellow. Moreover, the working house was built in the scenery area.
In July, 2003, I personally saw lots of shrimp dykes which were newly used or being built, during the course of going on a scientific investigation with my professors in Dongzhai Harbor mangrove sanctuary.
There used to be more than 70 acres mangroves at Guangchun Town, in Zhanzhou City of Hainan Province. However, in recent years, with unfolding a vigorous mass campaign for cultivating shrimps, the mangroves have been completely destroyed.

Guangxi Province
From October, 1999 to April, 2000, three vicious events, which caused nearly 50,000 mangroves and more than 1400 acres mangrove marsh damaged, occurred in east coast of Xiakou Town of Hepu county in Guangxi province.
On 8th, May, 2000, journalists received tip-off calls, which reported that 400 acres mangroves had been cut down at Fulu village of Xiakou town, in Hepu county of Guangxi province.When journalists arrived at Fulu village, on 10th, May, they found mangrove were cut down in the thick mangrove woods near the coast. Instead, there were six shrimp dykes, covering about 100 acres, and two working cranes.

Fujian Province (project investigation from December, 2001 to March, 2002)
At Longhai Fugong, in Zhangzhou, building dykes for cultivating began in 1994, which have removed more than 60 acres mangroves.
There is a more than 900 acres mangrove forest in Longhai Zini, in Zhangzhou city, which was supposed to be used for raising shrimps and had been invested more than RMB 2,000,000. Thanks to objects from public, the damaging project was cancelled.
In December, 2001, we went on an investigation on Yunxiao mangrove sanctuary in Zhangzhou city. Insiders told us that before the stretches of shrimp dykes were built, there was a mangrove woods. And now, we can still distinguish the remains of mangroves on the earth of the enclosed dykes. During investigating, we saw a lot of dykes being build at many places and pull-out mangroves lying on the surrounding ground.

Harmfulness II: Water Pollution
Shrimp dykes are always built at the coast in order to get water conveniently. In an investigation in Tashi village in Dongzhai Harbor of Hainan province, a villager said, “Mangroves shouldn’t be cut down. Instead, we should build shrimp dykes in mangroves woods so that shrimp dykes can receive protection from the mangroves.” At Longhai Fugong, in Zhangzhou city, some villagers build shrimp dykes on the swamp outside the dams and spontaneously plant mangroves around shrimp dykes. Although these villagers have been aware of mangroves’ protection function for dams, they haven’t realized the harmfulness of the waste water from shrimp farming. During the course of investigating of Dongzhai Harbor mangroves, we had a understanding of how the local villagers’ thought (details in the blank below).

Fish-men represented that a relatively centralized source of pollution, is the waste water discharged from the shrimp dykes, which caused a declining of fish resources. Shrimp farmers use a plenty of disinfectant, and discharge the poisonous substances into the ditches around mangrove without any treatment. Besides, waste water from feed, which is discharged directly into the mangrove woods, causes the water in the woods over-oxidized. As for the shrimp farmers, the behaviors above didn’t harm their profits, so they didn’t mention them at all in the investigation, As for fish-men, such behaviors have a lot to do with their own benefits, so they complained a lot. However, to those silent mangrove marshy ecosystem, the only thing it can do is to bear, and then, falls apart for over-contaminated at last.
Harmfulness III: Ecological Invading
At Dongzhai Harbor sanctuary, in Hainan, another worrying problem is that the young shrimps’ going into the river course will cause foreign species’ invading.

Sum-up
To sum up, we’ve known that during 1998 to 2004, shrimp farming has caused more than 2000 acres mangrove woods and relevant marshy land occupied. Nevertheless, there are still a large area damaged what we aren’t able to see? Besides, shrimp farming brings long-term harmful impacts on mangrove area; including poisoning and over oxidizing water and potential ecological invading.

From Liu Yi
LATIN AMERICA
Ecuador

The People Want To Manage Their Own Mangroves

The local coastal communities along the mangrove coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador are demanding that they be allowed to manage their mangrove forests as outlined in the Law for the Defense of the Mangrove. Over 300 representatives of these communities converged on the capitol of Quito and joined the Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Ecosistema Manglar del Ecuador (National Coordinador for the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem of Ecuador demanded that the National Congress finally approve this important legislation which has been held up for too many years.

The protest delegation wants to also see the establishment of a Administrative Board that includes representatives from the local communities to help develop management and conservation policies that can be more effectively implemented and that truly involve and represent the various user groups. Community and NGO representatives came from the States of Esmeraldas, El Oro and Guayas.

ELCOMERCIO.COM

From: “Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Manglar”
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Costa Rica

COSTA RICA – Wetlands Under Threat
Fires and construction of drainage channels
endanger protected lagoons.

The lagoons of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, in northern Costa Rica, are usually populated in March with birds like the jabiru, the pink spoonbill and the wood stork. Nevertheless, the drainage channels that farmers in the area bordering the refuge have been constructing over the last seven years have been converted into veins of death that are quickly drying up this wetland of international importance protected since 1991 by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

click here

From: Mike Shanahan mikeshanahan@yahoo.com

THE CARIBBEAN

Article from the Antigua Sun:

After 50 years, SDC slated to enhance Maiden Island

April 20 2004 by Desmond V. Nicholson
Maiden Island is one of the many islands that
make up the North Sound group of small islands off the north coast of Antigua. It is located just south of Long Island, on which the Jumby Bay resort has been created.
Maiden Island is a long narrow island about 1″? of a mile long by about “? of a mile wide at one point.

During World War II, a deep channel was dredged along the southwest side of Maiden Island to allow ships to pass to Crabbs peninsula, where a naval base was built.
Unfortunately, the island’s natural environment was destroyed when the coarse shell and sand dredgings were dumped on it. Further, the reef that had since grown was destroyed by Hurricane Luis in 1995.

Now, 50 years later, a few buildings and a
general enhancement of the island are slated by the Stanford Development Company (SDC). The company has removed all the dredged sand and coarse shell and will recover the shoreline with natural beach sand. A breakwater artificial reef has been created and was specifically engineered to lower the wave energy in the beach area, so that the new natural sand will remain stable. Stable sand means clearer water, which is healthier for the coral.

SDC has created the world’s largest artificial
fringing breakwater reef system off Maiden
Island, from over 1,000 designed reef modules. Constructed in just two months and planted with live corals during the same period, this reef system is an integral part of the development plan for the island. The coral reef breakwater was created by using
specially designed Reef Balls”? which are
prefabricated concrete modules designed to mimic natural reefs.

These round-reef modules are hollow inside, with several openings for the access of marine life and they are constructed with built-in adapters for planting live corals. The Reef Ball Foundation of Florida, with whom SDC is co-ordinating, has developed a system of reproducing live corals and for this project, the foundation’s expert volunteers created over 5,000 new coral colonies that were permanently attached to the Reef Balls to form a natural reef.

During the project, the Reef Ball Foundation
identified other corals in Antigua that were
imperiled by impending construction operations and was able to rescue an additional 17.5 tons of adult coral colonies, which were individually stabilised on the Reef Balls and saved.

To achieve the remarkable feat of restoring a
living reef system, the Antigua Department of
Fisheries and the SDC enlisted the help of over two dozen volunteers from the St. John’s Chapter of the Antigua Optimist Club. Over 500 sea urchins (Echinometra lucunter) were
added to the reef to act as “janitors’ to keep the corals free from algal overgrowth. Scientifically-designed larval lobster settlement substrates were added to the reef to enhance survivability of the spiny lobster
(Panulirus argus), an important species in Antigua.
Many lobsters have already been observed on the newlycreated reef. The volunteer teams documented 73 fish species, 71 invertebrate species, 30 coral species and 26 algal species (plus a turtle) now on the reef.

Every day, the species lists continue to grow.
Human needs were not forgotten in the
construction of the reef. SDC and the Reef Ball
Foundation created hundreds of yards of
snorkeling and diving trails. These trails provide visitors with a complete tour of the reef to see the wondrous and abundant reef life now present. The trails are marked by Reef Balls that have a 12 x 12 inch square marking to make navigation easy, or for
possible future educational signs.

The Reef Ball Foundation has asked divers to observe a voluntary “look, but don”t take
policy” until the Fisheries Department has time to pass a formal rule. There are plans to add mooring buoys so that anchor drops do not damage the new reef.

Seagrass beds and mangrove tree roots are
integrated components of a coral reef system.
They serve as nurseries for many animals that live their adult lives on the reef. One of the reasons Reef Balls were selected for this project is that the alternative would have
>> been an armor stone breakwater that would have impacted thousands of square feet of seagrass beds.

At the suggestion of the Antigua Department of Fisheries, the Reef Balls were chosen and
designed with special open bottoms to allow sea grasses to flourish around and under the Reef Balls so that the conch (Strombus gigas) habitat was preserved. In the areas on the lee or southwest side of Maiden Island, where the sea grass beds are being protected, a team with the SDC has conducted a Mangrove Habitat Restoration Project to further complete the system.

Over 7,000 Red Mangroves have been imported into Antigua from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The importing process included treating the Red Mangroves with both fungicide and insecticide. Over time, these mangroves will develop into a vast mangrove ecosystem for Antigua and will unction together with the Reef Ball coral reefs to complete the marine ecosystem restoration  on
Maiden Island.

The newly created mangrove habitat will enrich the life on the reefs with an abundant supply of fish, lobster and a great variety of marine life. As an added bonus, the mangroves will serve as natural filters to maintain excellent water quality for the reefs near Maiden Island.

SDC’s attention to the complete ecosystem, rather than just individual components, has been one of the key aims of the overall Maiden Island project. This project is the world’s largest total marine ecosystem restoration that includes joint coral reef and mangrove habitat restoration. Since coral reefs and mangrove habitats interac significantly from a biological perspective, the combination of these restoration techniques will yield a greater environmental benefit than either project done alone.

Antigua can be grateful and proud that the SDC has chosen to create this restoration on its shores.

From mangrove@candw.ky

NORTH AMERICA
USA

From: Mageswari Sangaralingam

New American NGO set up to promote aquaculture in developing countries

A new non-governmental organisation (NGO) has been established in United States aimed towards supporting aquaculture development in developing countries as a means to alleviate poverty.

The group, Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF), which was originally proposed during the annual meeting of the World Aquaculture Society in 2003, has already received a vast amount of su! pport from the sector, including volunteer services and donations, reports Aquafeed.

The group intends to use a combination of education and financial assistance in order to promote small-scale aquaculture in developing countries in the hope that this will lead to economic development.

Source: FIS/MP

From: Mageswari Sangaralingam
magesling@hotmail.com

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WHITE SPOT DISEASE IN USA Shrimp Farm
Source: OIE Disease Information. 23 April 2004. Vol. 17 – No. 17

Emergency report

Information received on 20 April 2004 from Dr Peter Fernandez, Associate Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington, DC:

Date of the report: 15 April 2004.

Nature of diagnosis: clinical, post-mortem and laboratory.

Date of initial detection of animal health incident: 14 April 2004.
Estimated date of primary infection: 1 April 2004.

Outbreaks:
Location – State of Hawaii, Island of Kaua’i
No. of outbreaks – 1

Description of affected population: commercial shrimp grower operation.

Total number of animals in the outbreak:
species – crustacea
susceptible – 16,000,000
cases – 6,800,000
deaths – 5,600,000
destroyed – 1,200,000
slaughtered – 0

Diagnosis:
A. Laboratory where diagnosis was made: University of Arizona.
B. Diagnostic tests used: histological examination. PCR(1) to follow.
Source of agent / origin of infection: unknown. Epidemiological
investigations are in progress.
Control measures: quarantine and movement control inside the country.
(1) PCR: polymerase chain reaction

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

click here

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy created by Congress in 2000 and appointed by President Bush (news - web sites), concluded that human actions have seriously jeopardized the health of the oceans, from huge and toxic algae blooms to depletion of fish stocks. Only a major overhaul of federal policy could reverse the trend, the commission found in its 413-page report.

While the report focused primarily on oceans, the commission also addressed the Great Lakes and urged steps to curb problems caused by pollution and invasive species such as the zebra mussel.

“If our report is adopted, the payoff will be great,” said retired Adm. James Watkins, committee chairman. “It’s now obvious that ocean resources are not limitless, nor are ocean waters capable of continual self-cleansing. The point is this: It’s up to us to find ways to use and enjoy the oceans in a sustainable way.”

To attack the problems, the commission said the federal government must work to streamline ocean management, which is spread among “a confusing array of agencies at the federal, state and local levels.”

Needed: Wider view

The report also called for a fundamental change in how the government addresses ocean problems, urging “ecosystem-based management,” which focuses on entire regions, rather than the current policy of addressing each species or habitat in isolation.

The commission recommended creation of a National Ocean Council, to be chaired by an assistant to the president, and for doubling the amount of federal funding for ocean research.

The report was the government’s first comprehensive look at ocean policy since the Stratton Commission issued Our Nation and the Sea more than 30 years ago.

Numbers adding up

Since then, “more than 37 million people, 19 million homes and countless businesses have been added to coastal areas,” the report said, noting an increase in the nation’s use of offshore oil and gas, marine transportation and coastal tourism.

“These developments, however, come with costs, and we are only now discovering the extent of those costs in terms of depleted resources, lost habitat and polluted waters,” the report said.

Several environmental groups hailed the report and said it is a mandate for Congress and Bush to act.

From: “Jerry White” jdwhite@olypen.com

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Shrimp on menu for Sussex farmers (US)

Salisbury (Md.) Daily Times 

By Ben Perserga
04/14/2004

Tilapia taught Tom Handwerker a lesson.

The fish was once popular in the aquaculture market, though growers lost some interest in tilapia when they found it was difficult to sell, said Handwerker, an agriculture professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore..

In the late 1990s, farmers were given one primary broker to peddle the fish, he said. A price war broke out, which eventually hurt the growers.

“We taught them all how to grow it, but not how to market it,” Handwerker said Tuesday.

Now, seafood is again being promoted as a way for farmers on the Delmarva Peninsula to diversify their income, and Handwerker hopes to learn from those mistakes in his newest venture, called Just Shrimp.

As company president, Handwerker explained his aquaculture plan for farmers in a meeting Tuesday with Delaware and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and potential investors.

He said the choice of shrimp came down to what product was most viable.

“In the United States alone, shrimp imports represent 80 percent of the seafood sales,” he said.

After three years and a grant from the USDA, Handwerker opened his operation at a farm near Laurel. He said the company will develop the shrimp in a nursery and then ship them to a Sussex County farm production site.

Under the supervision of contracted farmers and Just Shrimp, company staffers will harvest the product when it matures after a four-month cycle.

Once Handwerker introduces the system to Sussex farmers in May, he hopes to have 10 sites helping him create 350,000 to 500,000 pounds of shrimp a year.

“We hope to control the market everywhere within a four-hour distance,” he said.

Handwerker said the contract growers would have to supply the site, capital for a facility and pay operating costs.

However, the growers could generate a potential net income of more than $20,000, he said.

Despite the projected upside, Handwerker said the aquaculture business is not meant to replace Sussex County’s traditional farming staples of poultry and soybeans.

“This is not in competition,” he said. “We’re looking at the capacity of blending.”

Marlene Elliot, Delaware/Maryland director of USDA Rural Development, said growing shrimp is another way for farmers to supplement their income.

“It’s important we provide Delaware farmers with every opportunity,” she said.

From: SeaWeb Aquaculture Clearinghouse

STORIES/ISSUES
Industrial Fish Farming

No antibiotics are currently approved by the FDA for use with shrimp, but OTC may be the first.

Oxytetracycline, shrimp, and the Food and Drug Administration: A status report

By Don Lightner, Rod Williams, William Bray and Addison Lawrence

Source: USMSFP Industry Briefs www.usmsfp.org/

We have all heard the old adage that “if a little is good, then more is better.” It is easy to understand how a shrimp farmer facing serious disease losses due to bacterial diseases, such as vibriosis and necrotizing
hepatopancreatitis, might be tempted to up the dose a little in attempting to control these diseases by treating with medicated feeds containing oxytetracycline (OTC).

View the ARCHIVES of this list.

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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NHNE News List

WORLD’S MARINE LIFE IS GETTING SICKER

By Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist April 19, 2004

For years, apparent increases in illness among marine creatures, from whales to coral, have left marine scientists with the uneasy suspicion that the seas are increasingly plagued by disease. Now, US researchers have uncovered
the first good evidence that they are right.

In 1998, a dozen of the world’s top experts on diseases of marine animals warned that sea creatures seemed to be getting sick more often, with more diseases.

New viruses had appeared in whales and seals, while corals were dying of fungal and algal infections. Pilchards succumbed to viruses and an aggressive parasite expanded its range to attack commercial oysters, scallops and clams. In the Caribbean, some unknown bacteria wiped outwhat had been the dominant sea urchin.

But there was no way to tell if the apparent increase was simply due to more scientists paying more attention to marine disease. There was no baseline, as no one had ever measured disease incidence in any of these species decades ago.

Now, Jessica Ward, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has shed important new light on the problem by looking at how the number of reports of marine diseases in nine different groups of marine creatures has changed
in the scientific literature since 1970.

“We wanted to find out if something was actually happening,” Ward told New Scientist. “For most groups of organisms, we found that yes, there is something going on out there. Now we hope more people will try and figure
out where it is coming from.”

True incidence

Ward, with Kevin Lafferty, of the University of California in Santa Barbara, first tested whether changing numbers of scientific reports of rabies in US raccoons matched the true incidence of the disease, which is known independently. They matched, suggesting more scientific reports really do mean more disease.

The pair further tested the relationship by removing the most prolific laboratory from the publications they collected for each group of marine creatures — just in case increased reporting reflected only one scientist’s
funding success. This did not change any apparent disease trends. Neither did taking out multiple papers on one well-reported disease event, such as the Caribbean urchin die-off.

So using scientific reports as a measure, Ward and Lafferty found that disease has increased in turtles, corals, marine mammals, urchins, and molluscs such as oysters.

Illness seems to have remained steady in the shark and shrimp families, and in seagrasses. Surprisingly, disease reports have diminished for fish.

Easy prey

There are numerous possible reasons for rising disease. One, Ward suggests, is increasing sea surface temperatures due to global warming. This can cause corals to bleach, making them easier prey for infections.

Warming has also led to the northward spread of the oyster parasite Perkinsus. And warming is thought to accelerate the growth of tumours in turtles caused by a herpes virus.

Another possible factor is that human over-fishing has destabilised marine ecosystems. For example, when the urchins in the Caribbean died, corals were overwhelmed by the algae the urchins used to eat. “Normally fish would have eaten the algae instead, but they weren’t there,” says Ward.

Other suggested causes include:

? new pathogens from domestic animals, such as dog distemper virus and the parasite Toxoplasma

? bioaccumulation of toxins weakening marine mammals’ immunity

? new species carried across oceans in ships’ ballast tanks introducing new diseases

In the face of all this, the apparent health of fish is intriguing. Ward says this could be because the fish are simply fewer in number. Many pathogens die out among animals that are not packed densely enough to pass
the infection on. But it is also possible, she says, that the frequency of disease is just as bad or worse — but fewer fish mean fewer observations, and fewer reports.

Journal reference: PLoS Biology (vol 2, p 542)

From: “sauvage”

ANNOUNCEMENTS
SWS Ramsar Support Grant Program – Announcement of 2004 Awards

The Society of Wetland Scientists Ramsar Support Grant Program,
established in 1999, advances Ramsar Convention on Wetlands objectives, including the selection, designation, management, and networking of Ramsar sites, and the promotion of Ramsar’s Wise Use guidelines. Projects are funded at a level of US$5,000 per year on a competitive basis as reviewed by an evaluation team, which includes three wetland professionals from the Society of Wetland Scientists, a Ramsar Secretariat representative, and in certain years, a representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of International Affairs. This year’s evaluation team was comprised of Dr. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Secretariat; Dr. Judy Drexler, U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division; Dr. Katherine Ewel, Institute of
Pacific Islands Forestry, U.S. Forest Service; Dr. Chris Freeman,
University of Wales, Bangor; and Eric Gilman, grant program manager. Funds from the Society of Wetland Scientists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of International Affairs make this grant program possible.

Information on the grant program can be found at
. For additional information, contact Eric Gilman, Grant Program Manager, at ericgilman@earthlink.net .

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IUCN Small Grants for Tourism fund

I have the pleasure to inform you on the opening of the Small Grants for Tourism Fund. This fund is part of the Biodiversity and Tourism Program of the Netherlands Committee for IUCN (NC-IUCN). The fund aims to support local NGOs and entrepreneurs that develop tourism activities as a means of conserving biodiversity and contributing to poverty alleviation.

The Small Grants for Tourism Fund is a small fund with a maximum funding per project of 12,500 Euro and with a limited number of projects that can be funded. In the enclosed attachment ‘SGT Funding Criteria’ you’ll find further information on criteria for funding and submission procedures.

Attached to this e-mail you’ll also find information on:
-the NC-IUCN program Biodiversity & Tourism;
-the Tourism for Nature and Nature for Tourism project.

For more information on NC-IUCN, our tourism program and the project, look at:
www.nciucn.nl .

We encourage you to disseminate this letter with attachments among your own network.

Apologies for possible cross-posting.

With kind regards,

Ms. Nanda Ritsma
Tourism & Biodiversity Program
Netherlands Committee for IUCN
From: Nanda Ritsma

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Farming the Seas: New PBS Film Documentary

Farming the Seas takes an inside look at the
explosive problems and bountiful possibilities that aquaculture, or “fish farming”, currently offers to avert a global food crisis while
highlighting ground-breaking efforts by scientists, communities and industry to develop viable, sustainable operations.
Narrated by Peter Coyote. Produced by Habitat Media.

Please Contact Steve Cowan, the Film Producer at steve@habitatmedia.org  for schedule of showings.

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Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001

We are pleased to announce that Wetlands International has formally launched a new Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001 report titled “Numbers and distribution of Waterbirds and Wetlands in the Asia-Pacific
region. Results of the Asian Waterbird Census: 1997-2001″ on 4 April 2004 in Edinburgh, UK in conjunction with the Global Flyway Conference jointed organised by UK and Dutch governments and Wetlands international….

The publication is available from the Natural History Book Service www.nhbs.co.uk , and will be available for downloading shortly at Wetlands International Website www.wetlands.org/ .

Thank you for your kind attention. Learn more about the Asian Waterbird Census at THIS WEBSITE

From: David david@wiap.nasionet.net

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
New Handbook of Mangroves in the
Philippines

Handbook of Mangroves in the Philippines – Panay should have arrived or is on its way. The book is a field guide for local communities, NGOs, students, teachers and researchers to identify 35 species of Philippine mangroves based on plant morphology, biology and ecology; has 106 pages, numerous full color photos, handy size and laminated cover (ideal for field use); and chapters on Importance of Mangroves, Decline and Legislation, Conservation, Mangrove-Friendly Aquaculture, Rehabilitation.

From J.H. Primavera, Ph.D. Senior Scientist, SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department
jhprima@aqd.seafdec.org.ph

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Launch of the Asian Waterbird Census report 1997-2001

We are pleased to announce that Wetlands International has formally launched a new Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001 report titled “Numbers and distribution of Waterbirds and Wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region. Results of the Asian Waterbird Census: 1997-2001″ on 4 April 2004 in Edinburgh, UK in conjunction with the Global Flyway Conference jointed organised by UK and Dutch governments and Wetlands international.

The first copies of this publication were presented to representatives of the Ramsar Convention, Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and Japanese Government by Ms. Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer of Wetlands International. Dr. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General at the Ramsar Secretariat, Mr. Marco Barbieri Technical Officer of the CMS Secretariat, and Ms.Shiho Kanie, Chief of International Team, Wildlife Division of the Ministry of the Environment congratulated Wetlands International for the excellent work and publication. The launch was chaired by Mr. Ward Hagemeijer, the Head of Wetlands International’s Species Conservation Programme and the publication was introduced by David Li, Waterbird Conservation Officer (Asia), Wetlands International.

In introducing this report to the meeting, David Li of Wetlands International has first expressed their appreciation to the contribution of thousands AWC volunteers, without their support, the AWC would not have been so successful and this report would not have been available.

The report presents the latest information on waterbird numbers and distribution, as well as the status of important wetlands in Asia.

_ This report summarises the results of the counts from 1,392 sites in 22 countries including 61 wetlands of international importance listed under the Ramsar Convention, 32 Migratory Waterbird Network Sites in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and 43 Important Bird Areas.

_ A total of 291 species of migratory and resident waterbirds and 15 species of wetland-dependent raptors (birds of prey) were recorded; and a maximum of over 4.5 million waterbirds were counted in 2001.

_ The publication provides distribution maps for 110 species, including 24 globally threatened species.

The data in the report aims to contribute to conservation efforts of wetland management bodies, government agencies, conventions and NGOs at the local to the international level. Forewords kindly provided by the Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands and the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (two major international data users) calls on their Contracting Parties to use this publication to promote wetland and waterbird conservation nationally demonstrates the importance of the AWC.

For your immediate information, the summary of the report is attached at the end of this email. Additionally, the Ramsar Website has provided a writeup on this launch.

The publication is available from the Natural History Book Service www.nhbs.co.uk , and will be available for downloading shortly at Wetlands International Website www.wetlands.org/ .

Learn about the Asian Waterbird Census at WEBSITE

From: “David Lee”
AWC International Coordinator and Waterbird Conservation Officer (Asia)

CALL FOR PAPERS
CALL FOR PAPERS; SUBMISSION DEADLINE JUNE 1 FOR WETLANDS 2004

Invitation to Submit an Abstract or Attend: Staff of federal, state, local governments, not for profit organizations, birders, watershed councils, land trusts, landowners, all others welcome.

NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM WETLANDS 2004:
PROTECTING WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE
October 19-20, 2004. Hilton Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri

The Association of State Wetland Managers invites you to submit a paper to present at the National Symposium: Wetlands 2004: Protecting Wetlands of International Significance to be held on October 19-20, 2004 at the Hilton Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri. An optional field seminar will also be held to Great Bend Kansas on October 21 and 22. The deadline to submit abstracts is June 1, 2004.

National Symposium Goals: This symposium and field seminar (optional) will be held along the Central Flyway to help build the capacity of states, local governments, federal agencies, and others to help monitor, assess, protect and restore wetlands of international significance. These wetlands include
some of the nation’s most vulnerable wetlands including Prairie Potholes, playas, bogs, and coastal salt marshes. They include Ramsar sites, wetland-related national wildlife refuges, wetlands in national parks, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve sites, North American Waterfowl Management Plan sites, National Estuarine Research Reserves, and other wetlands.

The symposium will primarily focus on the protection and restoration of wetlands of international significance in the U.S. However, a portion of the program will be devoted to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. A major emphasis of the symposium will be to develop improved cooperation between wetland and bird protection groups. A broad host of other issues will be addressed as well.

Sponsors: The symposium is being sponsored by the:
· U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
· U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, International Programs

Call for Paper Topics: Please see call for papers announcement at the ASWM web site  for a compressive list of topics and abstract submission guidance. Additional topics will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Abstract Submission: Please e-mail abstracts in Word, Word Perfect, ASCII, or rich text format to Sharon at abstracts@aswm.org  by June 1, 2004. Please see website for specifics on submitting abstracts.

Please visit the ASWM conference web site for updates and registration
information.

From: “Wetland Breaking News” news@aswm.org
AQUACULTURE CORNER
Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming

Net Loss: The Storm Over Salmon Farming
52 minutes, 2003

KSPS/Spokane ? Thursday, April 29, 10 p.m.

KEET/Eureka – Thursday, May 18 ? 8 p.m.

KIXE/Redding – Friday, May 28 ? 10 p.m.

Please check local listings for broadcast on other PBS stations

All over the world, fish are at the heart of people’s diets and cultures. And here in the Pacific Northwest, there’s no fish like the legendary salmon. An important element in Native cultures, a livelihood for generations of fishermen, and a staple of the Northwest diet, the salmon has become an icon for this region.

But decades of habitat loss and poor fisheries management have threatened our wild salmon runs. One new alternative, the commercial farming of salmon in underwater cages, has promised more fish for people to eat and less pressure on the wild salmon. So what are the repercussions of salmon
aquaculture on our marine environment and coastal communities?

Filmed in British Columbia, Washington, and Chile, the new documentary, Net Loss: The Storm Over Salmon Farming, examines this industrial approach to producing salmon from both local and global perspectives. Government and
industry spokesmen make the case for salmon farming, and fishermen, Native people, scientists and chefs explain the dangers it may pose for the environment, human health, and coastal cultures.

Those who appear include whale biologist Alexandra Morton, Joseph McGonigle of Aqua Bounty Farms, Rodrigo Infante of Salmonchile, Seth Zuckerman, co-author of Salmon Nation, former Canadian MP Lynn Hunter, Chief Bill Cranmer, Namgis First Nation [BC], and independent fishermen North and
South.

With recent major articles about the implications of fish farming published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and local papers along the Northwest Coast from Oregon to Alaska, more and more people are growing concerned about the source and quality of a favorite food. This timely film, combining lush photography, lively music, and an engaging narrative, lays out the issues in a way that is understandable and highly watchable.

Net Loss: The Storm Over Salmon Farming has been screened to standing-room-only audiences in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Texas, Minnesota, and Maine. It won a bronze award at the Columbus
International Film Festival in the fall of 2003, and was featured at the Toronto Planet in Focus Festival.

“Net Loss probes one of the most important and cautionary tales for the future relationship between humanity and the sea. We need to think long and hard about this film.” – Carl Safina, President, Blue Ocean Institute

Producer: Melissa Young
Co-directors: Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young

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www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

The Sunday Herald, 25th April

Concern over ?sh-farm pesticides

Over 1000 licences for chemicals classified as ?pollutants,

By Rob Edwards, Environment Editor

More than 1000 licences to use toxic chemicals that critics claim are polluting sea lochs have been issued to fish farms, according to new figures from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

More than 300 fish farms around the coast have permission to discharge up to four pesticides into the sea. The companies with the most licences are Marine Harvest, owned by Dutch multinational Nutreco, and Scottish Sea Farms, part of Norway,s Leroy Seafood empire.

Although Sepa insists that it is providing an “adequate? level of protection, environmentalists are worried that the chemicals could be harming wildlife. There is evidence that low doses are capable of killing tiny crustaceans vital to the food chain.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the government,s conservation agency, is keen to minimise fish farmers, use of the chemicals where possible. “There is concern about the potential impact of chemicals on the marine environment, particularly on or close to sites protected for their natural heritage,? said an SNH spokeswoman.

Four main pesticides are used to kill the sea lice that often plague caged salmon, eating them alive. The toxin for which the most licences have been granted ? 311 ? is called cypermethrin, which attacks the central nervous system of crustaceans. The second most common is azamethiphos,an organophosphate pesticide for which 282 licences have been granted. The other two chemicals in widespread use are teflubenzuron (212 licences) and emamectin benzoate (211 licences).

The chemicals are all classified by their manufacturers as marine pollutants. Some studies have suggested that they kill copepods, tiny organisms in plankton which are an important source of food for young fish. They could also harm crabs and lobsters.

Sepa says that 177 fish farms have been given licences to discharge all four pesticides. A further 139 farms have permission to use one, two or three of the chemicals, while 142 farms apparently use none of them.

Sepa supplied a detailed 19-page dossier on the chemicals in response to a request from the anti-fish farm campaigner, Don Staniford. “Scotland,s marine environment is paying a heavy price for cheap farmed salmon,? he told the Sunday Herald.

Staniford, an activist from the Salmon Farm Protest Group, argues that salmon farmers shouldn,t use the sea as a dumping ground but should pay to treat their toxic waste. “Salmon farmers need to clean up their act instead of freeloading on Scotland,s pristine marine environment,? he said.

Sepa, however, insisted that the fish-farming industry in Scotland was one of the most strictly regulated in the world. The agency had devoted considerable resources to assessing the environmental risk of the chemicals, which all break down naturally.

In surveys by Sepa during 2001 and 2002, residues of three of the chemicals were detected on the seabed near 11% of salmon farms. But according to Andy Rosie, Sepa,s fish-farming specialist, they were all within environmental safety limits.

From: “Don Staniford”

AROUND THE CORNER
Diluting The Waters With Salmon Farming?
I am curious as to why MAP has decided in recent months to tackle the salmon farming issue. While I recognize there are many serious environmental and social issues surrounding temperate salmon farming and that there are superficial parallels between this and tropical shrimp farming, you run the risk of diluting MAP’s core mission by lumping these issues together. And I think that MAP’s past success has been due, at least in part, to its clear focus on a core mission (i.e., that of conserving mangrove forests).

Brad Walters, PhD
Associate Professor of Geography &
Coordinator of Environmental Studies
Mount Allison University
Sackville, N.B. E4L 1A7
Canada
Brad Walters

=======

Hi Brad,

Thanks for your note and stated concern.

However, I do not think by including information on salmon and other aquaculture issues at the end of the Late Friday News we are diluting our main focus which is on mangrove forest conservation AND local community empowerment for managing their coastal resources. For one thing, we want to bring in all of those who are quite concerned about industrial aquaculture in general, and salmon in particular, to show them there is a link between loss of coastal resources and community rights in mangrove regions as well as non-mangrove regions with the growth of industrial aquculture. We know that shrimp farming is only one example of industrial aquaculture practices that could be harmful, and in years to come may be replaced by fish farming or crab culture in large-scale. So, making these connections now seems relevant.

Also, we have had the Aquaculture Corner section of the LFN since 1999 or so, as this has been a feature of our newsletter. We know that coastal wetland areas are directly impacted by these expanding ventures, and the lessons learned in one sector, even if in the North, can be of value to those facing similar or future threats in the South, and vice-versa.

Please also note that the section on salmon aquaculture is pretty short, and most of the news is on mangrove related issues.
Ciao,
Alfredo

Late Friday News, 135th Ed., 4 April 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 135th Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus while this editor visited in S. America.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 135th Edition, 4 April 2004
FEATURE STORY
Coconut Charcoal

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Work Study/Eco-Tour Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

AFRICA
Nigeria
PROTEST AGAINST WEST AFRICA GAS PIPELINE

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Gulf bridge ‘threat to birds’
Ships stranded, trade along the Mekong with China at a halt
Low water blamed on China dams

S. ASIA

India
Bhitarkanika Mangtrove Reserve Endangered by Dharmra Port
***ACTION ALERT!!!*** & Sample Letter

Bangladesh
$1.7b shrimp export earning target fixed
Shrimp Culture: ‘Ecologically suicidal, economically unjust’
Sundarbans blaze rages on
Tk 10,000 cr shrimp export earning fixed
Cairn won’t explore Sundarbans

E. ASIA

China
Mangrove project of Xiamen University greenwild association

LATIN AMERICA
Honduras
Destruction and contamination of coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca,

Mexico
Greenpeace says regulations protecting Mexico’s mangrove swamps in danger

CARIBBEAN
NEW EVIDENCE ON DEATH OF CARIBBEAN CORAL REEFS

STORIES/ISSUES
Dead Zones Stir Live Debate
GLOBAL BAN ON GM-TREES, Action Alert

ANNOUNCEMENTS
RAMSAR Website Linked to MAP
CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS AT RISK
IIRR International Courses

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
CORAL Duscussion Board

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Fish farms slammed as feed-lot operations
Ridge calls fish farming a national security matter

FEATURE STORY
Coconut Charcoal

Description: Throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, coconut plantations provide products such as coconut meat, milk, butter, and oil, and coconut wood. Traditionally, coconut husks have been the waste product of this industry with very little economic value. A simple process of converting the husks to charcoal can turn this
waste product into a very desirable product. Coconut charcoal can be used for cooking, heating, and smoking meat and fish (when used as a base of heat as coconut charcoal gives off no smoke). By taking an additional step of steaming the charcoal under careful conditions, the low cost, readily available coconut husk can be converted into one of the most efficient and highly sought after activated charcoals for use in water purifiers, filters and other industrial uses. Charcoal is lightweight and easily transported.
Sustainable: Since the husk of the coconut seed is regenerated each time the tree fruits, and coconut palms produce nuts throughout the year, the fibrous husks are
entirely sustainable. The tree is unharmed by the harvest process, and the number of nuts that can be produced by a single tree in a year is high. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates “a normal-bearing, adult palm produces at least one matured ready-to-harvest bunch of coconuts every month. Depending on the variety, the number of nuts per bunch can vary from 5 to 15. The theoretical number of bunches per palm that can be harvested annually is about 14 from tall coconut varieties and 16 from the dwarf species.
This translates to estimated nut harvests between 70 and 240 nuts per tree per year.
Attainable: In locations where coconuts are common, husks of the nuts can often be obtained at very little cost. According to the FAO, husks are oftentimes left unused. “Since dehusked coconut is an important article of commerce locally, husking therefore becomes mandatory. The coconut husks are left with the farmer. In the places where there is a coir fibre industry, the husks may be sold to this industry. Most often the husks are not sold but are used as fuel for drying copra (dried coconut albumen). If little or no copra is made, there is an accumulation of coconut husks.
Marketable: Activated coconut charcoal for water filtration applications retails in the U.S. for US$35 per kilo, while pharmaceutical grade activated charcoal sells
for as much as US$193.00/kilo. Although it is unlikely that small charcoal produc- ers will be able to attain the pharmaceutical grade quality, it is possible to contract
with larger activated charcoal producers to supply the source of charcoal, earning more value than simply supplying the raw husks. Another marketable product of
the coconut husk is the production of lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes for heating or cooking. Small-scale entrepreneurs can easily produce both products.
Simple coconut charcoal is odorless, smokeless and burns at a high BTU making it a perfect cooking and heating source. Lump charcoal, or charcoal in its most basic
form, is a suitable market product for small-scale businesses, requiring very little capital investment to start. As production increases, capitol investments in equipment can lead to briquette production and even the ability to activate the charcoal for the highest returns.
Mangrove forest benefit ? Availability of coconut husks at low costs, and the speed at which they reproduce, reduces demand on mangrove wood as the predominant
charcoal base. Production costs of coconut charcoal are substantially lower than those of mangrove charcoal production, because of their availability and low cost to transport. The end product of coconut charcoal is nearly indistinguishable from that of mangrove charcoal. Compared to harvesting mangrove wood, husks are easily transported, even by the basket load, and require no special equipment or risk to harvest. Demand for mangrove charcoal diminishes, as coconut charcoal becomes more readily available in the market.

From: Sam

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at: WEBSITE

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com .

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp.

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

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MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves

After a successful partnership working at the CCRC Manado, JKTI (Indonesian Improved Cookstove Network, a member of ARECOP – Asian Regional Cookstove Program) and MAP will again partner to bring improved cookstoves, and appropriate charcoal technologies to North Sumatra.

MAP-Indonesia and JKTI signed an agreement today whereby JKTI will send two facilitators to North Sumatra to hold a four day improved cookstove workshop in the village of Kuala Indah. 20 participants from Kuala Indah and the nearby village of Gombus Laut will design and build fuel efficient cookstoves for home use, an institutional cookstove for processing palm sugar from coconut and nypah palm, as well as study carbonization of agricultural waste products for charcoal production. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Yayasan Bina Insani and Yayasan Sinar Kasih Desa, two NGO’s from North Sumatra who will be supported by JKTI to implement follow-up activities in the region.

This workshop will take place March 29-April , 2004. Then in early May, villagers who participated in the cookstove and charcoal workshop will share what they learned with members of the 10th In The Hands of the Fisherfolks workshop. A similar arrangement took place in Cambodia, between MAP and Cambodia Fuelwood Savings Program (also a member of ARECOP). In Cambodia however, improved cookstoves were demonstrated at the IHOF workshop without previous cookstove community development work in the region. In this case (in North Sumatra), MAP and JKTI were able to co-ordinate far enough in advance in order to initiate direct transfer of appropriate technology before the IHOF workshop takes place. In this way two new goals are accomplished 1)IHOF participants will be able to witness the cookstoves in use directly in a village setting and 2) MAP is contributing directly to community development in the IHOF workshop location.

We are excited about this working partnership between ARECOP members and MAP. After the Medan workshop, ARECOP and MAP will meet in order to create documentation on the relationship between improved cookstoves and mangroves, and also for strategic planning in terms of disseminating improved cookstove technology in mangrove regions.

From: “Ben Brown”

————————————-

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

————————————-

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

————————————-

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

————————————-

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conserve mangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience. www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is now being considered for late August and early September 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact

info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION/ FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, NIGERIA; 214, USELU-LAGOS ROAD; UGBOWO; BENIN CITY; NIGERIA TEL/FAX: +234-52-600 165 E-MAIL: ERACTION@INFOWEB.ABS.NET

March 29, 2004

PROTEST AGAINST WEST AFRICA GAS PIPELINE
PROJECT SHIFTS TO THE LAW COURT

Indigenes and residents of Nigerian communities affected by the proposed West African Gas Pipeline have instituted an action at the Federal High Court in Lagos to challenge the project. The citizens from Badagry communities, Lagos State and communities from the Escravos area in Delta
State are asking the court to stop the project, which is being implemented without respect for Nigerian laws and in total disregard of environmental and livelihood concerns of Nigerian communities.

The community people are asking the court to cancel the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Project, including the public hearings, on the grounds that the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company did not follow due process by consulting communities. The citizens argue that the Environmental Impact Assessment allegedly undertaken by the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company Ltd
(the 5th Defendant) or on its behalf in December, 2003 is unduly exclusive of the environmental impact of its project on the region stretching from Escravos to Alagbado and has been only selectively displayed and is
inaccessible to the public contrary to the mandatory provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act No. 86 of 1992 and is therefore illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The suit was filed on behalf of Alhaji Alani Ajose and Chief Manua Kumuji (Lagos State) and Robinson Uroupa and Bello Oboko (Delta State) by the law firm of Bamidele Aturu and Company, with the support of Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

The defendants are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Federal Ministry of Environment, ChevronTexaco Ltd, Shell Petroleum Development Company (Nigeria) Ltd and the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company Ltd. The other defendants are the Federal Government of Nigeria, Director of Petroleum Resources and the Attorney General of the Federation.

In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the authorisation of the West African Gas Pipeline project by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria without previous consideration of their
environmental effects at an early stage is a violation of section 2 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act No. 86 of 1992 and Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement)
Act, Cap 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and is therefore illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The citizens declare that the West African Gas Pipeline Company is not entitled to be granted oil pipeline licence by the Nigeria National Petroleum Resources and the Director of Petroleum Resources (DPR or any
agency of the Federal Government) to construct a 30″ onshore and 20″ offshore natural gas pipeline for transporting natural gas from Alagbado Tee to VRA power plant in Takoradi, Ghana skirting the coastlines of Benin, Togo
and Ghana on the ground of substantial, grave and incurable non-compliance with the provisions of the Oil Pipelines Act, Cap 338, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and the Petroleum Act, Cap 350,Laws of the
Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

The West African Gas Pipeline Company is registered in Bermuda, though all its operations will be in West Africa. The Company is not registered in Nigeria. The citizens are demanding that the court stop the company from
carrying out any activities, until it is registered in Nigeria with appropriate authorities.

The community people, in their Declaration state that the West African Gas Pipeline Treaty concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and three other governments in January, 2003, without compliance with Nigerian municipal laws is unpatriotic, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect whatsoever.

The citizens further argue in their Declaration that the Federal Government of Nigeria is incompetent for the purpose of granting oil pipelines licence or for any purpose whatever to act and cannot possibly and legally act for the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources which is at present factually and legally non-existent.

ERA and other civil society groups in Nigeria, Africa and the US have been criticising the proposed West African Gas project for the inability of the project sponsors led by ChevronTexaco to address the problem of gas flaring
from its Escravos Gas fields. Though the transnational corporation claims that the project will contribute to flares reduction, there remains no clear programme for use of flared associated gas into the WAGP. The WAGP will be connected to the Escravos-Lagos Gas Pipeline, which was built in the 1980s to transport unflared non-associated gas and was constructed without an
Environmental Impact Assessment.

Project sponsors have also not addressed safety issues against the background of pipeline explosions in the Western Niger Delta where thousands of community lives have been lost in recent years.

The Escravos area from where gas for the proposed pipeline will be sourced remain a centre of conflicts and impoverishment with pending issues of community rights unaddressed by the Nigerian government and the
transnational oil companies.

While transnational oil companies and the Nigerian government conclude plans to illegally pipe gas to commercial buyers offshore, Nigerian communities suffering the impact of gas exploitation remain without electricity.

ISAAC OSUOKA
Programme Manager, Energy & Mining

From: “Disera”

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Bangkok Post April 4, 2004

Gulf bridge ‘threat to birds’
Ornithologist warns of widespread impact

Ranjana Wangvipula
The coastal habitats of shorebirds would be threatened by the government’s gulf bridge project, a senior ornithologist has warned. The planned off-shore road was an “environmentally destructive strategy”, Mahidol University’s Phillip Round said yesterday.

Many thousands of shorebirds, some of them endangered species, either lived permanently in the Gulf of Thailand, the nation’s largest wetland, or migrated there each year.

Their habitat would be affected if the government built the planned 47km bridge across the gulf, linking Samut Sakhon and Phetchaburi provinces.

“It’s not only Laem Phak Bia that would be affected. Its impact would spread across the gulf,” Mr Round said.

Ponds and mudflats around the gulf provided feeding grounds for birds. These areas had not been zoned for special protection and were vulnerable to physical changes once the bridge was built, Mr Round said.

The changes would begin with a sharp increase in coastal land prices and then an invasion of development and businesses.

“I believe the birds’ habitats would be quickly reduced,” the WWF Thailand director for conservation, John Parr, said.

Trying to wake up those with little understanding of coastal ecology, Mr Round wrote an article for the Bangkok Post last year describing the inner gulf as a haven for shorebirds.

He walked readers through scenes crowded with local and migratory birds. Some birds, he wrote, feed by diving underwater. Others stalk the mudflats looking for mudskippers and “two residents … the Black-winged Stilt and Little Tern, lay their cryptically patterned eggs on the ground”.

The rarest and most endangered shorebird in the gulf was the spoon-billed sandpiper, which usually breeds in Russia’s far northeastern arctic, Mr Round said.

There were thought to be only 1,000 pairs worldwide, and up to four pair had been seen in Samut Sakhon.

Biologists suspect changes along their migration route, where mudflats in the Yellow Sea, between Korea and China, have been lost to reclamation, have caused a decline on their breeding sites.

Such uncontrolled development was an “environmentally destructive strategy”, Mr Round said.

He feared the government was following such a path when he first learned of the gulf bridge project three years ago. He sent a letter to the state environmental agency expressing his concerns, but received no response.

However, the director for land transport analysis at the Office of the Commission for the Management of Land Traffic, Prasit Rugsayos, argued the road would have little impact.

“It would take up as little as 2.4 rai of land at the two coastal areas where the bridge comes ashore,” he said.

The two proposed areas are Kra Sa Khao temple in Samut Sakhon and Laem Phak Bia.

To ensure there was minimum adverse impact, only areas of deteriorated mangrove forest would be used for construction, Mr Prasit said.

The over-the-water bridge would serve as a short-cut to the south and part of a planned new 128km motorway.

From:

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Ships stranded, trade along the Mekong with China at a halt
Thousands of tonnes of cargo held up

By Teerawat Khamthita
Cargo movements between southern China and northern Thailand have dried up as the falling level of the Mekong river has stopped all shipping.

Kanchana Sian, 30, a businesswoman in Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai, said many cargo vessels were stranded on sand bars between Jinghong and Chiang Rai. Boats still in the two ports could not leave because the river was too shallow.

A ship belonging to her Chinese husband’s company, PX Import-Export, had grounded about 500 metres up the river after leaving Chiang Saen with 100 tonnes of yarn.

If the dry spell continues businesses along the river will lose hundreds of millions of baht, Mrs Kanchana said.

Sermchai Kittiratanapaiboon, chairman of the Chiang Rai chamber of commerce, said several thousand tonnes of cargo were stalled in warehouses in Chiang Saen, including energy drinks, dried longan and other consumer goods. On land, there were several forest fires reported along the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Rai. Firefighters were building fire breaks to contain the damage.

———-
March 25

MEKONG RIVER

Low water blamed on China dams
Open, close to allow blasting of rapids

By Piyaporn Wongruang
The recent drop in the level of the Mekong river in Chiang Saeng could be the result of the temporary closing of dams in China, says a transport official.

Sub-Lt Preecha Petchwongse, secretary of the Joint Committee on Coordination of Commercial Navigation on the Lancang-Mekong river, said engineers had started clearing some parts of the Krai rapids in the Upper North, one of the rapids to be demolished to improve nagivation.

The project, which includes installation of navigation marks, is one of six major schemes under a commercial navigation agreement signed by Burma, China, Laos and Thailand in 2000.

Works are planned on a 886km river section from Simao Port in China’s Yunnan province to Laos’ Luang Prabang, and the first phase of the project covering a 331km river section from the Chinese and Burmese borders to Luang Prabang was supposed to be completed this dry season.

The engineering team had asked China to alternate closing the dam _ three days shut and one day open _ so work could carry on, Sub-Lt Preecha said.

The water level in the river is so low that some cargo ships have stopped travelling upstream.

The level must be at least 150cm for 100-tonne vessels.

Somchai Poolnikom, chief of the Chiang Saen Hydrological Centre, said the level had increased by 10cm over the previous day to 135cm at noon.

“The river level is quite normal for this time of year,” he said. “This season is particularly dry. But what’s clearly unnatural is that the water level is fluctuating so much.”

A source at the Marine Office 1 Chiang Saen Branch said some cargo ships became stuck in shallow parts of the river last week. Some traders had asked China to release water from their dams.

From mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

S. ASIA

India

Ashish Fernandes, Sanctuary Asia,
www.sanctuaryasia.com

The Hindu Sunday Magazine 
March 28, 2004

Bhitarkanika Mangtrove Reserve Endangered by Dharmra Port Facility
CAUGHT IN A CORPORATE WEB

By Pankaj Sekhsaria
The revival of the port project in Dhamra, Orissa, places huge risks on the endangered Olive Ridley turtle and Gahirmatha, the largest turtle nesting site in the world, says PANKAJ SEKHSARIA.

THE timing could be a mere coincidence; it could also be plain doublespeak. The occasion was the release of the centenary journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on November 12, 2003. Before the distinguished audience, the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI)
Bank announced that it was contributing Rs. 50 lakhs to the BNHS to initiate a “Green Governance Programme” (GGP). The aim of the programme would be to sensitise corporate houses, financial institutions and the media to issues of biodiversity, wildlife habitats, environmental laws and conventions.

The brochure talked of the ecological consequences of financing environmentally damaging projects, of corporate environmental responsibility and how it was a business strategy that works. It also listed out a number
of sites and themes which would be included in the programme. This included among others, the Lakshadweep Islands (eco-tourism: problems and prospects);
the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan (extractive industries and conservation), the Kumaon-Garhwal hills (infrastructure development), the Gulf of Kutch (bio-diversity and the impact of oil refineries) and the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa (port development and conservation
issues).

The inclusion of Bhitarkanika, in particular indicated the sincerity of the bank to the programme. The Bhitarkanika belt of the Orissa coast is probably the most significant little patch on the surface of the earth for the long-term survival of the Olive Ridley turtle, a reptile that has been around for millions of years. This is the largest rookery in the world for the critically endangered species and half a million turtles nest here every
winter.

All, however, is not well on the conservation front. For the last few years, thousands of these turtles are being washed ashore dead, after being caught in the nets of the trawlers that continue to ply here illegally during the breeding season. Unable to surface to breathe, they suffocate and drown and
are eventually washed onto the beaches along the coast here. The other prominent and potential threat here is the proposed construction of the
Dhamra port at the mouth of the Dhamra river on its northern bank. Significantly, this area is only few kilometres from the boundary of the Bhitarkanika National Park and about 20 kilometres north of the most important of the turtle nesting beaches. When first proposed in 1988, Bhitarkanika was spread over an area of 367 sq. km, which included
ecologically sensitive areas like the site of the Dhamra port project. When the national park was finally notified in 1998, however, the area was reduced by more than half, to 145 sq. km. and the port site was now outside the boundaries. Significantly, this was just about the time that the proposal for the port here came up. For the development of the minor port at Dhamra (see box), a huge investment of about Rs. 1,500 crores has been proposed, with the bank being the lead financier. The port project is being promoted by International Seaports Ltd., a company in which industrial major Larson & Toubro Ltd holds a third of the stake. Work was to have started in the year 2000, and for obvious reasons, environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts have been opposing it.

Recent studies have shown congregations of nesting turtles six kilometers offshore and 12 km south of Gahirmatha. Turtle researchers point out that this is probably just a fraction of the total population and there will be other aggregations, both south and north of Gahirmatha. Fear was expressed
that the construction work and the increase in shipping traffic here could devastate offshore turtle congregations. Increased illumination in the night too would disorient turtles and hatchlings and prevent them from finding their way to the sea after they hatch. Concern has been expressed internationally as well, which includes the International Sea Turtle
Symposium that was held in Florida, U.S. in 2000. Additionally, this area has a dense cover of mangrove forests. A task force constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) reported that areas having mangroves sustained substantially less damage in the coastalbelt of Orissa
during the “super cyclone” of 1999. This clearly emphasises the importance of mangroves in protecting the coasts from natural calamities. Following this, the ministry released nearly Rs. One crore for the implementation of two management action plans for mangroves; Rs.46.50 lakhs in 1999-2000 for
the mangroves in Bhitarkanika and Mahanadi and Rs.55.75 lakhs in 2000-01 for the Subernrekha, Dhamra and Devi mangroves.

It has been estimated that more than 2,500 hectares of mangrove forests, primarily in the Paradip-Dhamra belt were destroyed in the 1960s when the Paradip port was constructed. This area has since emerged as the most
cyclone-prone zone. According to official sources, out of the total 200 sq km of mangrove forest in the Mahanadi delta, only about 30 sq. km is left. These concerns have also been largely neglected in the present project and it is most likely that the port at Dhamra will only aggravate this problem.

A combination of factors, both environmental and financial, led to the abandoning of the project in 2000 and there was a collective sigh of relief all around.

Significantly, one of the key players and financiers of the port project in Dhamra is the ICICI Bank. The inauguration of the GGP seemed to indicate that the bank was willing to lead from the front and that it was sincere and honest when speaking about corporate environment responsibility and sensitivity to the environment, wildlife habitats and bio-diversity. The
signal from the bank seemed to be, “We shall not support any such industrial or infrastructure development activity in the sensitive Bhitarkanika-Gahirmatha environment”. It therefore came as a rude shock when The Hindu Business Line carried a report titled “Construction work at Dhamra port expected to begin soon” on December 20, 2003 (only about a month after
the initiation of the GGP). “The port’s private promoter, International Seaports Ltd,” the report said, “… is working towards achieving financial closure during the first quarter of 2004 …. Construction of the Rs. 1,500-crore port project, on the basis of build, own and transfer (BOT), was
supposed to begin in November 2000, but was delayed due to initial environment-related problems. Later, the lead financier, ICICI, suggested certain modifications to be made in the concession agreement to improve the bankability of the project … .”

A few months earlier, The Business Standard, had reported (“Dhamra port project revived”, June 25, 2003), that the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) had also decided to promote the port project. The NMDC gesture, that reportedly gave a fresh lease of life to the project, is linked to the allotment of iron ore mines to the company in the Bimalgarh
area of Sundergarh district. The report went on to say that, “… the Orissa government has modified the concession agreement for Dhamra port incorporating the suggestions of Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), the lead financier, to improve its bankability. ICICI said the changes would protect investments in the project.” Work on land acquisition for the project too is reportedly going on. The website of the Industrial and Infrastructure Development
Corportation of Orissa (IDCO), the only statutory agency in the State to procure land exclusively for industrial/infrastructure development projects, reports that it has already initiated the process of the acquisition of 4,000 acres in Bhadrak district to facilitate the project.

One would have thought that the bank would immediately issue a clarification in the context of these reports saying that it was not interested in this project anymore as it was committed to the GGP. It has, however, neither done this, nor has it clarified its official position on thesame. By the looks of it then, the project is once again on, with the key issue being the
“bankability of the project”. Nothing about the environment, nothing about the turtles, nothing that would indicate that the ICICI was also supporting a programme about green governance and corporate environment responsibility.

On the coast of Orissa meanwhile, oblivious of the intentions and actions of the humans they share this earth with, the Olive Ridleys have started nesting once again this year. This is just the right time for the corporates involved, especially the bank involved, to live up to the “green corporate” image that it has sought to create for itself. Otherwise, the turtles, when they come back next year or the year after, might well be swimming into a drastically altered, even devastated reality.

Note: (The map shows the patterns of four turtles which were fitted with satellite transmitters when they came to nest at a site at the mouth of the Devi river, which is even further south of Gahirmata. One turtle (marked in blue) travelled north immediately after nesting. This specimen was tagged on
April 18, 2001, and on April 30, was at a point that is nearly 21?longitude. The coordinates of Dhamra are 20.48?N and 86.56?E, which indicates that this turtle had passed this spot. It is important to note that this specimen was tagged at Devi and not at Gahirmata, which is just south of the port site. Now that thousands of turtles are nesting on these sands and without doubt swim and congregate opposite to and north of the port site at Dhamra, is proof enough of how they will be impacted once the port comes up).

Minor port, major trouble

IN 1994 the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) issued its “Environment Impact Assessment” (EIA) notification. Meant as a tool to ensure that developmental projects did not ride rough shod over environmental concerns it listed 29 (later increased to 30) industrial and developmental activities that needed environmental clearance from the
Government of India. Schedule I of the notification contains this list of projects. Point 3 reads … ports, harbours, airports (except minor ports and harbours).

Why an exception was made for minor ports is not very clear. What is now clear, however, is that this exception has created one of the biggest loopholes in environmental legislation in the country, allowing in the process, for the development of at least a 100-odd such “minor ports” along the country’s coastline. Many like Dhamra in fact are located in areas that are ecologically extremely sensitive.

Presumably, the reason to exclude a minor port from environment clearance is that it is “minor”, investment is limited, land requirements are negligible, not many people will be affected, and the overall environmental impact will
be minimal, if not negligible. Following this logic, environmental clearance to the Dhamra port project was given by the Ministry of Surface Transport, not even the MoEF.

The reality is however quite a different one. The difference between a major and a minor port, strangely, is not of size or investment, but one of jurisdiction alone. While the major ports (like Kandla, Cochin (Kochi), Chennai. Paradip and Vishakapatnam) are under the Central Government, minor
ports are in the charge of state governments. The proposed port at Dhamra is to be developed over an area of nearly 1,000 acres, and another 3,000 acres are being acquired for other project related development activities. The proposed investment too is about Rs. 1,500 crores.This kind of investment and land requirement is definitely not minor, and neither the impact – environmentally and ecologically. Legally, however, this “major” port is a minor one and therefore exempt from the provisions of the EIA notification.

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Please take a few minutes to understand and then lend your name to the Sanctuary campaign to stop the Dhamra Port and save the endangered olive ridley turtles of Orissa. You can take the first step by writing a polite letter along the lines suggested and posting it to the parties concerned. In case you wish to, you could send them an email c/o Sanctuary at cree@sanctuaryasia.com with your complete name, address and affiliation details etc and we will undertake to deliver the letter to the concerned parties.

Bangladesh

$1.7b shrimp export earning target fixed

NewAge, April 3, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

www.newagebd.com

Country’s shrimp sector has set an ambitious target over five years to raise export earnings to Tk 10,000 crore or about $1.7 billion, five times up from the present annual exports, by 2008.
The Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association believes that the target can be achieved if the sector gets government support in enhancing yield, maintaining quality and coping with external challenges and shocks.
It calls for an integrated programme with specific year-wise targets to bring the shrimp farming areas under modern management to increase yield and exports.
The association proposed a special fund in the coming budget to give legal support to the shrimp sector in case of any anti-dumping measures taken by other countries. Recently, the US has imposed anti-dumping duty on shrimp import from some Asian countries, including India.
It also suggested that the government restrict import of fish feed to keep exportable shrimp free from antibiotic and other chemicals.
It will put forward a set of proposals to the national committee on export affairs, the highest body on export policy headed by the prime minister, which is set to meet on April 11.
Frozen seafood, mainly shrimp, is the second largest export earning sector of Bangladesh that fetched Tk 1,863 crore or $321 million in the last fiscal year.
The association sought government’s support to set up at least three “shrimp estates” in Cox?s Bazar, Satkhira and Noakhali ? the three coastal districts, country’s main shrimp farming regions.
These exclusive zones, if set up, would help increase the yield as well as implement a “seal of quality” programme for ensuring exports of quality shrimp.
Taking into account the ban on export of shrimp with antibiotic and other chemicals, the association felt that the government should restrict imports of fish feeds which often contain antibiotic, nitro-furan and some other harmful substances.
Apprehending similar anti-dumping cases like the US’s shrimp apex body filing against imports from six countries, the Bangladesh frozen food association stressed the need for a budgetary fund to give back-up support to the shrimp sector.
Thai government has already created a 50 million bath fund to fight anti-dumping cases, it cited. Southern Shrimp Alliance of the USA filed anti-dumping cases against shrimp exports from Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Ecuador and Brazil.
“It is unlikely that Bangladesh will come under the mischief of such cases in future,” a shrimp industry leader said. The US is the largest single destination of Bangladesh’s shrimp consuming about 35 per cent of the total shrimp production.
Shrimp exports to the US amounted to around $80 million in the last fiscal.
US Ambassador Harry K Thomas said in Khulna on March 22 that Bangladesh could earn 1.5 billion dollar a year by exporting shrimp by 2008 if it produces quality shrimp complying with the international food safety standards.
Around 35,000 tonnes of shrimp are exported on an average every year and the volume can be raised up to 300,000 tonnes just through proper utilization of shrimp fries.
Local hatcheries produce about 400 crore fries annually, but very little of it is used in unplanned and conventional methods of shrimp farming, the association says.
Leaders of the shrimp export association pointed out that the country’s shrimp production still remained as low as 200 kg per hectare while international average is more than 1000 kg per hectare.
Disease-free post larva (PL) and controlled shrimp cultivation will help Bangladesh boost annual shrimp exports by $20 million to $100 million by 2008, they said.
The USAID-supported Agro-based Industries and Technology Development Project (ATDP), recently established an international standard PCR laboratory at Cox’s Bazar to help farmers identify White Spot Virus in PL.

From: Zakir Kibria

————————————-

Shrimp Culture: ‘Ecologically suicidal, economically unjust’

THE DAILY STAR

Shrimp culture is ecologically suicidal, socially impoverishing and economically unjust, said the speakers at a workshop yesterday.

They said saline water for shrimp cultivation has not only destroyed the fertility of agricultural land but also damaged the bio-diversity and shrunk traditional poultry breeding.

The two-day workshop on ‘Terrorism-based trade, Democracy and Rights of the Poor’ was organised by Nijera Kori, an NGO for rural development, at the WVA auditorium in the city.

Prof. Abul Barkat of Dhaka University presented a paper on ‘Commercial shrimp culture, imperiled ecology and rights of the poor’ at the opening session.

In the paper, he explored how salinity and terror inflicted by owners of the gher (enclosed shrimp culture ground) in the south-west region, have deprived the marginal people of their livelihood by displacing them from their ancestral homesteads.

“Due to various malpractice in commercial shrimp culture, the land-less people have also lost their right to Khas land,” said Prof Barkat.

Two crore people of 15 districts in the country’s coastal area have become the victims of this unjust economy, he added.

Prof Barkat said shrimp culture occupied 20,000 hectares of land in 1979-80 while a total of 410,000 hectares of land came under this business in 1996-97.

He said a shrimp gher owner earns a net profit of Tk 200, 000 per acre of land whereas a marginal farmer, who owns the land, gets Tk 4 to 6 thousand.

Rahela Begum, who came from Khulna to take part in the workshop, said, “The crop field has lost fertility because of shrimp culture which thrives on labour exploitation, muscle power and terrorism.”

“Women workers at the shrimp processing plants are subjected to serious health hazards and inhuman working conditions,” said Dr. Sadeka Halim of Dhaka University.

“As contractual labourers, these women often do not get wages month after month but they cannot raise their voices as the shrimp traders are highly influential,” she said.

Prof. ABM Faruk of Dhaka University said 32 percent of the country’s people depend on medicinal plants for treatment but salinity in the shrimp breeding grounds has wiped out these plants in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira regions.

Prof. Ahmed Kamal of Dhaka University presided over the session attended by 65 participants including 42 land-less people, seven journalists and five lawyers.

————————————-

Sundarbans blaze rages on
Staff Correspondent, Khulna

The Daily Star, March 28, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

URL: THE DAILY STAR

The blaze that broke out last Wednesday in the Sundarbans engulfing compartment No. 27 under Dhanshagor station of Chandpai Range is yet to be doused.

The raging fire has burnt down over 4,000 trees of different species within two and a half kilometres area on the eastern wing of Sundarbans Forest Division (SFD).

The flames are spreading fast, affecting 50 more spots despite strenuous efforts by foresters and people living in neighbouring localities to put out the fire. Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Md Rafiqul Islam, who is in charge of the eastern wing of the SFD, however said the blaze has been extinguished, a claim eyewitnesses contradicted saying the situation is alarming. They added the inferno is likely to engulf several thousand trees with wind blowing over the forest at a speed of over 20 to 30 kilometres an hour.

Rafiq said the fire originated from torches (smoking devices) used for dislodging bees from the hives by unauthorised honey collectors. Hundreds of used torches and other objects have been recovered from the place of occurrence. Sources however said the fire originated from ovens used by unauthorised woodcutters for cooking.

Eyewitnesses Sufia, Yunus and Emdadul of Nishankhali village said fire has destroyed part of the forest covering an area of over three kilometres. Over 7,000 sundari, bain, passur and garan trees have been burnt to ashes, they said.

According to unconfirmed sources, a vested quarter set the trees on fire with the help of Mouals or honey collectors.

=======

Forest fire razes 2,000 trees in Sundarban
NewAge, March 28, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

A three-day devastating forest fire in east Sundarban of Khulna has raged to ground at least 2,000 trees of different varieties covering some two square kilometre of forest area, officials said Saturday.
The fire which was brought under control on Friday might have caused from kitchen or Mashal (torch) fire by the honey collectors in the deep forest of Sundarban, Rafiqul Islam Chowdhury, Assistant Conservator of Forest told New Age, adding among the raged trees were Sundari, Garan, Gewa and Singara.
He said the fire broke out on Wednesday at Nangla camp area under Dhan Sagar Station.
Hundreds of people using buckets and jars rushed and joined the forest officials and staff in trying to control the bush fire after mikes of a nearby mosque were used to alert the locals against the fire.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

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Tk 10,000 cr shrimp export earning fixed
NewAge, April 2, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) has fixed the target for earning Taka 10,000 crore from export of shrimps and other fishes to global markets by the year 2008.
Raising the issue at the annual general meeting of the association held Wednesday, its leaders drew the attention of government, donor agencies and other trade bodies to help realise its Vision-2008 programme.
The BFFEA has already presented a concept paper on the Vision-2008 to the Prime Minister seeking the government support and assistance from other agencies.
The meeting also unanimously decided to make equal distribution of raw materials, which are now in short supply, to avoid unhealthy competition among exporters. They opined that the government might introduce a quota system in this regard.
The BFFEA leaders welcomed the government decision to give cash incentives to the exporters saying they would put the money to produce more shrimps for more exports.
They sought the finance minister’s support to disburse the overdue cash subsidy at a time most exporters suffering from liquidity crisis.
President of the association Quazi Monirul Haq was in the chair. Its vice presidents MMA Salam and Nazir Ahmad, secretary general Mahmudul Hasan and former presidents Salahudidn Ahmed, Kazi Shahnewaz and Md Golam Mostafa spoke.
Some former secretary generals of the association including Md Aminullah, Maqsudddur Rahman, Manzoor Ahmed
and Shariful Islam, and existing executive committee members SM Amjad Hossain and Akhtar Ahmed BP spoke at the meeting.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

————————————-

Cairn won’t explore Sundarbans

URL: THE DAILY STAR

Cairn Energy group has no plan to go for a mineral resources exploration in the Sundarbans, Cairn officials categorically said yesterday.

While addressing a press conference on the occasion of the takeover of Shell’s assets in Bangladesh, Cairn officials said the largest mangrove in the world is not the place they are interested in.

The recent newspaper reports on the company’s Sundarbans exploration the officials described as baseless. They also categorically denied having any intention to export gas from Bangladesh.

“We are just taking over the assets of Shell to run the business on the domestic market, not to export,” said Ian Halstead, general manager of Cairn Energy Bangladesh, responding to a query.

He admitted that the domestic demand of gas has increased significantly.

Officials of oil companies Shell and Cairn told reporters that Bangladesh government has approved the transfer of operatorship and sale of Shell’s upstream assets to the companies of Cairn Energy group recently.

Earlier on August 4 last year, Cairn Energy PLC announced its plan to acquire Shell’s upstream interests in Bangladesh comprising 37.5 percent and 45 percent operated interests in the block 16 Sangu gas field and the exploration blocks 5 and 10.

Managing Director Zaffar Chida and Director ABM Siraj Uddowlah of Shell Bangladesh attended the briefing.

Shell’s decision to divest its assets in Bangladesh fits the overall strategic development of the group’s global portfolio. Cairn is Shell’s existing partner in Bangladesh. Shell officials hope Cairn will run the business to proper environmental, social and operational standard in the best interest of Bangladesh.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

E. ASIA

China

Dear Alfredo,

From Liu Yi,
Mangrove project of Xiamen University greenwild association

Mangrove prospection in China

In 1950s, China had a mangrove resource of over 50,000 hectares. The number declined to 15,000 in 2000; that is, China has lost 70% mangrove area during the last 50 years. What’s worse, remaining mangroves have a deteriorating forest structure, some mangrove area have became shrubs or waste swamps which have little biological and ecological characteristics. The large-scale
vanishing and deteraioration has seriously endangered Chinese mangrove ecosystem. At the same time, many species, which somewhat lean on the mangroves for surviving and reproduction, have lost their habitats. All
of these have gravely weakened protective function of the mangrove.

What happened to Chinese mangrove:

1960s-1970s Campaign of “Changing the sea into farmland” which was proclaiming by chairman Mao.
1980s aquiculture (reclaiming the swamps or constructing pools at the seaside) 1990s- Urbanization such as construction of harbors and dock roads

Chinese mangrove also have to meet many other problems which cause deterioration: Survival crisis conducted by algae excessive propagation which due to sea-water nutrition enrichment, severe pollution, over-utilization;
insect pest and bird hunting.

Take Xiamen for instance, mangrove area has declined from 4,800 acres to 400 acres during last 50 years, and the number keeps decreasing. The large-scale urbanizational projects like Xinglin Circum-island Road, Haicang Street,
Jimei Seashore Road, which have finished or still under construction, occupy mangrove habitats and also affect mangrove within 10 meters; the remaining mangroves are dying slowly according to water-fluid change brought about by those projects.

What can China do in the future: improve citizen awareness of mangrove protection, develop replanting projects, consummate mangrove protection and
management system.

China has 7 national natrual reservation for mangrove at present time, more reservations are at a provicne-level or regional. But few are opperated in a appropriate way, besides, quality of managers in some mangrove reservations is not as good as required.

Manrove project group of Greenwild association in Xiamen University are carrying out activities, including publicity of all kinds, formation of “Mangrove publicity and protection network” in Fujian province and all over
China, training natural interpreters, promoting citizen awareness, to fulfill the eventual goal of scientific mangagement and nursing of mangrove; meanwhile, we are trying very hard on scientific study of afforestation and we are replanting mangroves on our own.

It is only the begnning of our work. We still have a long way to go and call for everybody to contribute his or her effort.

From: mangrove@greenwild.org

LATIN AMERICA
Honduras

Case: Destruction and contamination of coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca, Department of Choluteca and Valle, Republic of Honduras

Accusers of the contradictory:

Committee for the Defense and Development of the Flora and Fauna of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF)

Against:

International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, Government of the Republic of Honduras, Granjas Marinas San Bernardo and El Faro.

FACTS:

In accordance with the accusers:

1. The wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca in the south zone of Honduras, declared RAMSAR SITE 1000th, are formed predominantly by mangrove forests, lagoons and estuaries that are the refuge of migratory and not migratory birds, nesting places for turtles, mollusks, crustaceans and fishes. Besides this is the main source of income for the people that live in the zone, basically artisanal fishing, cattle raising and firewood extraction for domestic use. The population of the south zone of Honduras, particularly the one located in the Department of Choluteca is categorized, in accordance with the PNUD (index of Human Development, 1999), as one of the poorest zones of the Republic, in spite of the incorporation of development plans based on private shrimp exploitation and financed by international financial organizations since 1972 until now.

2. In the file of the demand there is constancy that producers dedicated to coastal-marine activities such as traditional fishing, aquacultors in the zone of the Gulf of Fonseca, are affiliated to the Committee for the Defense and Development of the Flora and Fauna of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), that is the organizations that demands in the present case.

3. The production of shrimp by part of the industry and particularly by the companies Granjas Marinas San Bernardo and El Faro, has seriously impacted wetlands and the ecological environment.

Environmental Level

4. The pruning of mangroves, the destruction of lagoons and the consequent lose of biodiversity that surrounds and lives in this kind of ecosystem.

5. The indiscriminate extraction of shrimp larvae started from 1973 to 2002.

6. The contamination of waters is attributed to animal and agrochemical wastes that enterprises apply and that are of forbidden use, provoking with it risk to human health and the death of other marine species.

7. The concession of lands in protected areas as La Berberia, RAMSAR SITE 1000th.

8. Expansion of shrimp farms in times of moratoria, giving not importance to national laws.

9. The autochthonous people, men and women, dedicated to traditional fishing, have been dislodged of their land, even of the beach that is of public use.

10. The population dedicates mainly to artisanal fishing, and they have always sustained themselves that way, in order to subsist with their children.

11. The people has denounced before the competent institutions of the country related to shrimp production, the damages caused by the companies El Faro y San Bernardo but have not gotten any satisfactory result.

12. This form of production has the support of international finance institutions as the World Bank, no respecting the environmental dispositions that this kind of organization itself has.

WE CONSIDER:

1. The politic Constitution of Honduras, the International Treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, the International Pact about economical, social and cultural rights, the World Letter of the Nature, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Stockholm Declaration, the Agreement on Biologic Biodiversity, among others, establish that men and women have the right to the common patrimony of all human beings, the natural resources.

2. In the file surge the proofs of the nonfullfilment of the legal dispositions imputable to the authorities of the Republic of Honduras.

3. The way in which the companies El Faro and San Bernardo have developed in the Gulf of Fonseca, has affected the biologic diversity.

4. Men and women that inhabit this zone suffer of absolute poverty when displaced and deprived of opportunities of job and life.

5. In the zone prevails a climate of uncertainty caused by the lack of attention to life or other omissions by part of the competent authorities.

Taking into account the facts and considerations that precede, the jury of the Central American Water Tribunal

RESOLVES:

1. To indicate emphatically the responsibility of the shrimp company Granjas Marinas San Bernardo for contamination and the shrimp company El Faro for damages to the wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca.

2. To censor the Government of the Republic of Honduras for the nonfulfilment of its international obligations that are derived from the RAMSAR Convention for the protection of wetlands, especially those that serve as refuge areas for migratory birds.

3. In solidarity make responsible the IFC / World Bank for financing projects that have had serious environmental consequences in the ecosystems and the population of the Gulf of Fonseca.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. To the Government of the Republic of Honduras: in execution of the Constitution of the Republic, of the General Environmental Law and other applicable ones and the International Conventions, to make an environmental audit of the shrimp farming industry of the Gulf of Fonseca in order to take urgent measures in function of the establishment and sustainable development of the aquaculture activity.

2. To establish a moratorium that allows ordering the shrimp farming activity so that legal dispositions and the sustainability of this system of production are respected parting from the creation of an inclusive organizational structure and the consensus of the groups involved in this activity.

3. To carry out the demarcation of the Areas of shrimp exploitation in respect to the legal dispositions on the protection of coastal marine areas, in the smallest possible term through the competent government organizations.

4. To the World Bank: to abstain from financing the expansion and/or the establishment of new shrimp industries in order to help to the recovery of natural habitat of the wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca.

5. To the Environment Ministry: not to concede new environmental licenses on the Protected Areas of the Gulf of Fonseca.

6. To the Government of the Republic: to implant, the soonest possible, a program of development addressed to the economical reactivation of the population that has been economically affected.

7. To the competent authorities: to advance in the investigations and actions where there is evidence of environmental damages caused against the ecological patrimony of Honduras.

8. To the competent authorities: to protect the human and environmental rights of the people in execution of the American Convention on Human Rights.

It is given in the city of San Jose, March 19, 2004.

Mexico

Mexico

Greenpeace says regulations protecting Mexico’s mangrove swamps in danger

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 31, 2004

MEXICO CITY – Greenpeace volunteers in orange jumpsuits placed chain saws and sawdust at the entrance to Mexico’s Environment Department on Wednesday, accusing the agency of failing to protect mangrove swamps forests and favoring business interests.

Greenpeace Mexico Director Alejandro Calvillo said the department plans to do away with or weaken regulations created last year to protect Mexico’s coastal mangrove swamps.

Calvillo said the forecast about the regulations was based on information from Greenpeace sources inside and outside the Environment Department, declining to offer specific contacts. Contacted Wednesday, the Environment Department did not immediately respond to statements by Greenpeace.

Under pressure from the advance of coastal development, Mexico’s biologically diverse mangrove forests prevent coastal erosion, provide crucial habitat for marine life and help sustain reefs on the Caribbean Sea.

“During no other administration in the life of the Environment Department have there been people who represent business interests in positions of fundamental importance to the agency,” said Calvillo. “There’s an inclination to favor investment at all cost above the environmental regulations.”

In September, President Vicente Fox replaced Environment Secretary Victor Lichtinger – considered nonpartisan expert – with a stalwart from his National Action Party. Alberto Cardenas, the first National Action governor of Jalisco state, was named head of the environment secretary.

The shake-up at the department came after a poor showing by National Action in July congressional midterm elections that led Fox to acknowledge that many Mexicans were disappointed with his government.

Enforcement of existing mangrove protections already has been relaxed, according to Calvillo. He cited two development applications approved this year near the Caribbean resort city of Cancun.

Greenpeace protesters also hung a giant sign from the Semarnat building that said, “licenses available to destroy mangrove forests.”

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

CARIBBEAN

From Seaspan Newsletter, April 1, 2004

NEW EVIDENCE ON DEATH OF CARIBBEAN CORAL REEFS
Caribbean coral reefs are deteriorating rapidly, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Ecology Letters (which also features the letter “Climate change, genotypic diversity and gene flow
in reef-building corals based on Australian reefs). Researchers analyzed cores to reconstruct the ecological history of a reef system in Jamaica. They found that the decline of coral in recent decades was
unprecedented in the last thousand years. “Ecologists are now realizing the full extent of damage to Caribbean reefs, with estimates running as high as an 80 percent loss of coral throughout the region since 1980,” said Richard Aronson, one of the study’s authors. “New coral diseases, hurricanes, overfishing of plant-eating fish, and several other kinds
of disturbance combined to convert Jamaican reefs from vibrant communities to seaweed-covered coral graveyards, and this is the first
time it’s happened in at least a thousand years.” To read the report, go to:

BLACKWELL-SYNERGY

Source: EurekAlert, March 19, 2004, www.wurekalert.org

From: saltman@rsmas.miami.edu

STORIES/ISSUES
Dead Zones Stir Live Debate

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 1:12 p.m. ET March 29, 2004The number of oxygen-deprived “dead zones” in the world’s oceans has been increasing since the 1970s and is now nearly 150, threatening fisheries as well as humans who depend on fish, the U.N. Environment Program announced Monday in unveiling its first-ever Global Environment Outlook Year Book.

These “dead zones” are caused by an excess of nitrogen from farm fertilizers, sewage and emissions from vehicles and factories. In what experts call a “nitrogen cascade, the chemical flows untreated into oceans and triggers the proliferation of plankton, which in turn depletes oxygen in the water.

While fish might flee this suffocation, slow moving, bottom-dwelling creatures like clams, lobsters and oysters are less able to escape.

“Humankind is engaged in a gigantic, global experiment as a result of the inefficient and often overuse of fertilizers, the discharge of untreated sewage and rising emissions from vehicles and factories, program executive
director Klaus Toepfer said in a statement accompanying the report.

>From small to vast zones Toepfer noted that 146 dead zones — most in Europe and the U.S. East Coast — range from under a square mile to up to 45,000 square miles. “Unless urgent
action is taken to tackle the sources of the problem,” he said, “it is likely to escalate rapidly.”

The program noted that some of the earliest recorded dead zones were in Chesapeake Bay, the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia’s Kattegat Strait, the Black Sea and the northern Adriatic Sea.

The most infamous zone is in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi River dumps fertilizer runoff from the Midwest.

Others have appeared off South America, China, Japan, southeast Australia and New Zealand, the program said.

Preventive measures
The report was released in Jeju, South Korea, where governments from around the world are sending officials this week for a Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

The program noted preventive steps can be taken, citing these examples:

European nations along the Rhine agreed to halve discharged nitrogen levels, reducing the discharge into the North Sea. Planting new forests and grasslands will help soak up excess nitrogen, keeping it out of waterways.
Requiring vehicles to reduce nitrogen emissions. Fostering alternative energy sources that are not based on burning fossil
fuels. Better sewage treatment would reduce nutrient discharges to coastal waters.

Global warming warning

But the report also noted new research that indicates global warming could aggravate the problem. Should humans double emissions of carbon dioxide, a key gas that many scientists fear is warming the Earth, that could change
rainfall patterns, according to the research.

“In some areas, this in turn could lead to a marked increase in the levels of run-off from rivers into the seas,” the U.N. program said. “They calculate that dissolved oxygen levels in the northern Gulf of Mexico, triggered by an increased discharge from the Mississippi River basin of 20 percent and a climb in temperature of up to four degrees Centigrade, could fall by 30 to 60 percent.”

The U.N. report is online.

(c) 2004 MSNBC Interactive
MORE FROM ENVIRONMENT

From: mskladany@iatp.org

————————————-

ACTION ALERT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVISTS AND MOVEMENTS

GLOBAL BAN ON GM-TREES -
SIGN THE PETITION FOR UN
at the address:
www.elonmerkki.net/forestforum

We are asking for your participation in the campaign urging the UN to ban genetically modified trees. In the next three months, this dynamic Internet action will be focused on collecting as many signatures as possible for a
petition to be presented to the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva next May.

The campaign has now been widely welcomed all over the world. The list of groups and campaigners having signed the petition so far includes the World Rainforest Movement, Friends of the Earth in different countries, Scottish Green Party, The Forest Action
Network- and a lot of other organisations and individuals around the world.

People?s Forest Forum Action group
contact: forestforum@elonmerkki.net

Press release 10 February 2004/Updated 18 February 2004

Internet petition for the UN
NGOs are demanding a global ban on genetically modified trees

A campaign launched in January by Finnish environmental groups protesting against genetically modified trees is drawing subscribers around the world. The campaign has now been widely welcomed all over the world. The list of groups and campaigners having signed the petition so far includes the World Rainforest Movement, Friends of the
Earth in different countries, Scottish Green Party, The Forest Action Network- and a lot of other organisations and individuals around the world. The petition will be presented to the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva next May.

The campaign is complemented by an Internet forum for discussions on the world?s
forests, forest related problems and ways to solve them.

Member of the Finnish Parliament, Heidi Hautala (green) opened the discussion on the People?s Forest Forum. Supporting the petition for a global ban on GM-trees she writes: -The petition highlights a worrying
trend by governments to forget one global task at the cost of the other. It is necessary to alert the concerned citizens, scientists and civil society groups worldwide.

-We hope that we can go together to the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva next May with a large and impressive delegation backed by a massive list of subscribers, says Riitta Wahlstr?m, chair of The Union of Ecoforestry in Finland.

Further information:
www.elonmerkki.net/forestforum

ANNOUNCEMENTS
RAMSAR Website Linked to MAP

Ramsar has made an index page of Ramsar material on mangrove issues, as they’ve recently done on coral reefs and peatlands, and in one part of it I tried to put a small list of external links on mangrove issues, including MAP.

From Dwight Peck dwight.peck@bluewin.ch , www.dpeck.info

————————————-

This excerpt was taken from the PEW Center on Global Climate Change E-Alert-
April 2004.

CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS AT RISK

Coral reefs provide important resources and direct economic benefits to the large and growing human populations in low-latitude coastal zones. But
development, over-fishing, and pollution have contributed to a global loss approaching 25% of these valuable ecosystems. This new report, “The
Potential Contributions of Climate Change to Coral Reef Ecosystems,” analyzes the current state of knowledge regarding coral reef communities and outlines the likely impacts of climate change to coral reef systems both in U.S. waters and around the world over the next century.

Read more about the effects of climate change on coral reefs.

From: Michelle Wilde

————

IIRR International Courses

The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) offers international training courses that are designed for development practitioners and leaders from around the world to meet and learn from each other.? The courses focus on practical field experiences and participatory approaches drawing on IIRR’s more than 40 years of conducting international training and 80 years of rural development experience and the experiences of participants, and of other development organizations.

IIRR works with the rural poor in developing countries to improve their lives by building on their unique assets and strengths. IIRR achieves this through field research, training, publications and field programs with communities and in partnership with other development organizations. Rural reconstruction is a development strategy first advanced by the mass education movement founded by Dr. Y.C. James Yen in China in 1923.? The strategy is sustainable, integrated and people-cente

From: Monette Pacia

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
CORAL Duscussion Board

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is proud to announce the launching of the CORAL Discussion Board. We hope this site will make a significant contribution to global coral reef protection by stimulating dialogue on a variety of issues related to the conservation of these dynamic yet
threatened marine ecosystems. The discussion board will allow individuals, organizations, businesses and government agencies within the fields of marine conservation, park management, science, recreation and tourism to seek technical advice and share lessons learned with others in a global network of communication.

While there are a wide variety of marine conservation issues that can be discussed, appropriate topics may include things such as mooring buoy projects, coral reef monitoring, artificial reefs, educational materials and
programs, sustainable tourism, coral park management and general conservation initiatives. If you have topics that you would like to see addressed within a global network of peers, or if you need technical assistance or advice on how to better protect the reefs of your local
region, then we encourage you to click on the link below to register as a member and join the discussion. Most especially, if you have conservation success stories and practices that others can learn from, we would like for
you to share your knowledge with others in this forum.

 

From Rich Wilson, The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)
rwilson@coral.org

AQUACULTURE CORNER
U.S. Salmon Network ussalmonnetwork@iatp.org

Fish farms slammed as feed-lot operations

The Vancouver Sun, 02 Apr 2004
Byline: Glenn Bohn

When Daniel Pauly came to Vancouver a decade ago, he promised himself he would remain publicly silent about the health of fisheries close to his new home.
That resolution lasted about five years.

Now, the fisheries scientist is a vocal critic of the brand of aquaculture that produces $300 million worth of Atlantic salmon in net pens in the fjords and bays of B.C.’s Pacific coastline.

From Pauly’s perspective, there are two types of aquaculture.

The first type — he calls it Aquaculture A — is based upon the animals that feed on plants and nutrient-rich waste. That’s the kind of aquaculture the UBC fisheries professor saw in Indonesia, where flooded rice paddies become duck-fertilized fish farms for carp. He said that kind of traditional aquaculture turns algae, plants and other waste into fish food, which provides more seafood for people in developing nations. Those people need to eat more animal protein because their diet relies too much on rice and other carbohydrates.

Pauly contrasted that type of fish farm with what he calls Aquaculture B — the kind of salmon fish farming pioneered in Norway and exported to B.C.

He said the fish farms here are “industrial feed-lot operations” that are feeding fish to fish. Pauly noted that fish meal rendered from fish makes up between one quarter and one third of the food given to salmon, sea bass, tuna and other farm-raised fish. The problem, Pauly said, is that the fish that are being ground up and turned into fish meal are not “junk” fish that would be “wasted” anyway.

Pauly noted that fish meal is often made from sardines, anchovies, mackerel and cod-like species — all of which, he said, are eaten by people in countries like Spain, Italy and Germany.

“It is not true that these are fish that nobody would eat anyway,” he said. The fish that is ground up is better used as human food. Humanity has less fish, the more salmon that is raised.”

From: mskladany@iatp.org

————————————-

Ridge calls fish farming a national security matter
SPOTLIGHT: RESOURCES
LAINE WELCH
FISHERIES

(Published: March 27, 2004)

ADN

It was standing room only recently at Centennial Hall in Sitka, where
residents turned out in droves to hear the latest moves by the U.S.
government to allow open ocean aquaculture, or OOA, in federal waters from 3 miles to 200 miles offshore….

Another well-known fish farming critic, Anne Mosness of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, said the government’s intention to lease rights to the water column is not consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine, which says that states have an obligation to protect the public interest from any use that would substantially impair that trust….

From: mskladany@iatp.org

Late Friday News, 134th Ed., 22 March 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 134th Edition of the Late Friday News

Note: Invasive species are a major cause of extinctions, second only to habitat destruction, and they exact a cost of approximately $120 billion per year in the United States alone, according to Lori Williams, executive director of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC), a cross-agency council formed in 1999 by executive order from President Clinton.

Thought/Concern: Many aquaculture ventures utilize non-native species in their operations, and these farmed species often escape into the wild. Those that escape and survive become invasive species, and their threat to the natural ecosystem is still not known or studied.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 132nd Edition, 22 March 2004
FEATURE STORY
An Intrinsic Problem With Shrimp Farm Certification

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

AFRICA
Nigeria
***ACTION ALERT!!!***
Shell Must Take Responsibility For Its Oil Spills
CHEVRON MAY BE LIABLE FOR MURDER & HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
THREAT OF US PUNITIVE DUTIES: Shrimp-farmers give up, switch businesses
Fisherfolk Coalition Forms
Chinese dams upstream blamed for drastic decline in fish stock

Vietnam
Shrimp farms fight to meet demand as prices soar

S. ASIA
India
Hope along the Gujarat coastline
Coringa mangrove vegetation changes in last two decades:
Bangladesh
Tigers kill 58 people in Sundarbans last year

OCEANIA
GREAT BARRIER REEF IS DOOMED, SAYS REPORT

Australia
LATIN AMERICA

Brazil
Shrimp – New Source of Tension with U.S.

Honduras
VERDICT OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN WATER TRIBUNAL

STORIES/ISSUES
CONGO: World’s Second Largest Rainforest to be Destroyed
UNDISTURBED AMAZONIAN FORESTS ARE CHANGING, SAY
SCIENTISTS
New Report Offers Insights Into TRIPS
Atomically modified rice in Asia

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Bank’s Draft Principles for a Code of Conduct Require More Input From Local Communities
Bees and Forests
First ICWRP project: Mexico’s Sian Ka’an Ramsar Site
Journal To Address Enviro Management Issues
Earth Day – Let’s Take a Stand Together
World Ocean Day is June 8th!

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
Coastal Zone Asia-Pacific Conference in Brisbane Australia,

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming
69 per cent ‘prefer taste of wild salmon’ over farmed
Race underway to craft rules for U.S. fish farming
Profit ahead of conservation: tuna farming in the Mediterranean is out of control

AROUND THE CORNER
Regarding the spread of Nypah in the Niger Delta:

FEATURE STORY
An Intrinsic Problem With Shrimp Farm Certification

The fundamental flaw with individual certification is that the problem that makes aquaculture unsustainable is NOT at individual farm level only, but is primarily a result of crowding and loss of essential natural services due to cumulative effects and gross
conversion of ecologically important coastal systems. As long as farms are sited on intertidal lands, as long as they discharge into coastal waters that have limited capacity to receive organic wastes, they will cause problems and the activity will be difficult to harmonize with nature.

What matters is not individual compliance by farms but elimination of cummulative impacts. The total impact is not necessarily the sum of individual impacts.

For a certification scheme to work it has to be inserted within a regional context where the certification relates to the facts that the farm meets regional zoning and load requirements as well as operational (effluent) and process requirements. Farm by farm certifications do not mean much if the certification program does not consider cumulative effects.

There is something else that is of great concern The industry, in an effort to hide its problems and spotty performance places a lid on information about disease outbreaks. However, this information could be of great value in ascertaining where conditions have reached the limit for natural systems to buffer impacts (and disease). If this information was made available, better
regional and landscape level assessments could be made that would be ultimately benefitial to the industry.

Unfortunately this is not the case. Aquaculturists have opted to look away from the threat of disease rather than to confront it. They have opted to “live” in a make believe world in which problems would be solved through improved chemotherapeutic control and genetic engineering) This is tragic because the primary strategy to confront disease is not through chemotherapeutants and technology only but primarily through prevention.
This means maintaining healthy ponds as well as a healthy surrounding environment.

Many shrimp diseases appear not to lend themselves to chemoterapeutants because they are problems of a degraded environment (caused by crowding of farms on a landscape) and excessive stocking densities (an internal pond problem). Penaeid shrimp diseases can only be controlled by reducing
crowding of farms on a landscape, (through zoning and carrying capacity restrictions) and individual (farm-level) stocking and pond water quality control. A healthy landscape is a diverse landscape, not one devoted to a monoculture. That is a recipe for disaster. It is unfortunate that the industry seems blind to this and has failed to regulate itself.

From: Gil_Cintron@fws.gov

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at: WEBSITE

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

——————————–

MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves

After a successful partnership working at the CCRC Manado, JKTI (Indonesian Improved Cookstove Network, a member of ARECOP – Asian Regional Cookstove Program) and MAP will again partner to bring improved cookstoves, and appropriate charcoal technologies to North Sumatra.

MAP-Indonesia and JKTI signed an agreement today whereby JKTI will send two facilitators to North Sumatra to hold a four day improved cookstove workshop in the village of Kuala Indah. 20 participants from Kuala Indah and the nearby village of Gombus Laut will design and build fuel efficient cookstoves for home use, an institutional cookstove for processing palm sugar from coconut and nypah palm, as well as study carbonization of agricultural waste products for charcoal production. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Yayasan Bina Insani and Yayasan Sinar Kasih Desa, two NGO’s from North Sumatra who will be supported by JKTI to implement follow-up activities in the region.

This workshop will take place March 29-April , 2004. Then in early May, villagers who participated in the cookstove and charcoal workshop will share what they learned with members of the 10th In The Hands of the Fisherfolks workshop. A similar arrangement took place in Cambodia, between MAP and Cambodia Fuelwood Savings Program (also a member of ARECOP). In Cambodia however, improved cookstoves were demonstrated at the IHOF workshop without previous cookstove community development work in the region. In this case (in North Sumatra), MAP and JKTI were able to co-ordinate far enough in advance in order to initiate direct transfer of appropriate technology before the IHOF workshop takes place. In this way two new goals are accomplished 1)IHOF participants will be able to witness the cookstoves in use directly in a village setting and 2) MAP is contributing directly to community development in the IHOF workshop location.

We are excited about this working partnership between ARECOP members and MAP. After the Medan workshop, ARECOP and MAP will meet in order to create documentation on the relationship between improved cookstoves and mangroves, and also for strategic planning in terms of disseminating improved cookstove technology in mangrove regions.

From: “Ben Brown”

——————————–

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

——————————–

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

——————————–

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conservemangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience. www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is now being considered for the month of JSeptember 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

——————————–

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first ofmany Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Shell Must Take Responsibility For Its Oil Spills

Please write a letter of protest to Shell Oil regarding a recent massive oil leak in Niger Delta.

———-SAMPLE LETTER=========
Managing Director
Shell Petroleum Development Company
Freeman House
Lagos, Nigeria

Please be aware that news of the recent oil spill has reached the USA and is hurting the image of Shell among your largest consuming market. It is clear to us that Shell is profiting from resource extraction and thus bears full responsibility for costs and consequences of your behavior. If the spill was caused by poor security or poor community relations, it is still Shell’s
responsibility to leave the environment at least as clean as you found it and the neighbors at least as well off.

Please assure us that you will immediately take the following actions:
- Stop accusing the local people of sabotage and involve them in the
investigation process aimed at unraveling the actual cause of the spill. Be completely open with all information gathered internally and externally.
- Immediately commence a proper clean-up exercise in the Aghoro River and the adjoining creeks and other affected areas. Your response should be exactly the same as it would be if the spill occurred in a populated area of the USA.
- Pay adequate compensation to community people whose environment, fishing gadgets and source of livelihoods have been destroyed by the spill. The urgency of this need cannot be over-stressed. Human survival must be your paramount concern.

Your immediate response may help to prevent growing negative publicity and perhaps stem a boycott. Thank you.

Your Name & Address

——————————–

CHEVRON MAY BE LIABLE FOR MURDER & HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN NIGERIA

Late yesterday in San Francisco, a federal judge ruled that two ChevronTexaco corporations based in San Ramon, California may be held liable for the acts of their Nigerian subsidiary, when these companies allowed the subsidiary to hire notorious Nigerian military and police as a security force.

The lawsuit, called Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco, challenges a May 1998 incident which occurred in Nigeria’s remote southern Delta region, in which Chevron’s subsidiary, CNL, hired military “security forces,” some of whom were widely known as the “kill and go,” and those forces murdered and injured a number of unarmed Nigerians who were protesting Chevron’s environmental and business practices on the Parabe oil platform just off Nigeria’s coast. The lawsuit also challenges an incident which occurred approximately seven months later in which CNL’s “security forces” again killed and injured dozens of Nigerians, including women and children, when they opened fire without any warning from Chevron-leased helicopters on unsuspecting villagers and burned two remote fishing villages, Opia and Ikenya, to the ground. Finally, the case seeks to hold the Chevron companies liable for a media campaign of lies they orchestrated in an effort to convince both U.S. and Nigerian citizens that Chevron played no role in the killings and devastation at Parabe or at Opia and Ikenya.
Although Chevron argued that the case should be dismissed because corporate law protected it from any responsibility for the acts of its subsidiary, federal Judge Susan J. Illston denied Chevron’s summary judgment motion, finding that there was evidence from which a jury might conclude that CNL had acted as Chevron’s agent in these events, noting the “degree and content of communications” between CNL and Chevron, the “extraordinarily close relationship between the parents and subsidiary prior to, during and after the attacks,” as well as the evidence of a “cover-up of CNL’s activities” by Chevron. In ruling that Chevron was sufficiently intertwined with CNL’s policies and conduct to be held responsible for the murders and mayhem in these incidents, Judge Illston cited evidence that “more than 20% of Chevron’s earnings were accounted for by CNL’s production” and noted there was “significant evidence that [Chevron] viewed unrest in Nigeria as directly affecting CNL’s oil production.”

“In her ruling, Judge Illston has given notice to Chevron and corporations like it that they cannot just take the money and run, leaving dead bodies and a ruined environment for others to clean up,” said Theresa Traber, the attorney who argued the case for the Nigerians. “Corporate formalities were not designed to let companies like Chevron control their overseas subsidiaries so as to maximize their profits without any thought for human rights abuses and the environmental and other costs of doing business. Multinationals are going to have to learn that they must audit these ‘costs’ very closely or suffer the consequences.”

“ChevronTexaco, like all multinational oil companies, must get the message that it cannot participate in human rights abuses abroad,” added Barbara Hadsell, another of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. “They cannot, on the one hand, exploit the resources of an impoverished people and then escape the consequences when things go wrong. And if they try to, they will have to answer for their atrocities in U.S. courts.”

Plaintiffs in the case include the survivors of 8 individuals who were shot and killed during the incidents and four who were injured but survived. One of the survivors was a 9 year old girl at the time, who was strafed by gunfire when her village was burned to the ground.

The Bowoto v. Chevron court decision is now online.

From Cindy Cohn Cindy@eff.org

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

THREAT OF US PUNITIVE DUTIES: Shrimp-farmers give up, switch businesses

THE NATION Published on Mar 22, 2004

Output, domestic prices down 60%-70%, exports cut in half

Shrimp will be in short supply in importing countries for four to six months as major exporting countries have stopped farming it due to the anti-dumping investigation initiated by the United States.

Exporters and shrimp-farmers’ associations share the view that shrimp exports will drop to Bt50 billion this year, half of the average Bt80 billion-Bt100 billion.

Exporters predict that their white shrimp will be slapped with countervailing duties of 6-10 per cent, making it less competitive in the American market.

Indonesia and Mexico are also cutting back.

Pong Visedpaitoon, chief operating officer of Charoen Pokphand Foods, said the US would face a shrimp shortage for six months.

“Although Indonesia and Mexico are not on the anti-dumping investigation list, they will be producing less due to environmental factors. Importers have placed orders, but they cannot ship them,” he said.

The fall in production by Indonesian shrimp farmers is due to low-quality equipment and infrastructure. Also the country cannot export to the US due to political issues over terrorism.

Mexico catches white shrimp from the sea rather than culturing it in ponds, so its production capacity depends mainly on the environment.

China, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Vietnam and Thailand are targeted for anti-dumping duties. The preliminary rates are expected to be announced by the US Commerce Department in early June.

Prakong Jantarat, president of the Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers’ Association, said the country’s shrimp production had fallen by 70 per cent since the investigation was announced late last year.

Due to fluctuating domestic and export prices, many shrimp-producers have stopped farming, particularly white shrimp, to avoid further losses.

“Thai shrimp production will go down to only 20 per cent of capacity next month, and the impact will be serious. Shrimp-producers stopped farming after experiencing losses for four to five straight months,” Prakong said.

Cold-storage operators and exporters have stopped stocking shrimp until the extra duty is announced to avoid any additional costs. As a result the domestic price of white shrimp has dropped from Bt270 to between Bt70 and Bt100 per kilogram.

Twenty per cent of shrimp-farmers in the South have closed their operations and changed to other businesses.

In an attempt to increase supplies, the shrimp associations, Thai Frozen Food, Thai Shrimp and Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers, will hold national seminars soon in the main shrimp-production areas of Chanthaburi, Chachoengsao and two southern provinces to convince people to reopen their farms.

Pong said shrimp-exporters had shifted to Japanese and Canadian markets, where their products were more competitive.

Japanese importers are building up their shrimp stocks as they expect a short-term decrease in supply.

In a twist, the fall in supply has pushed export prices up, particularly in the US, where retail prices have been rising by 10-20 per cent.

Retail prices are being quoted at US$7 (Bt276) to $12 per pound compared to $5-$8 earlier this year.

“Competition between Japan and the US is pushing up prices, because they do not want to pay high prices,” he said. The European Union is now the main target for Thai shrimp exports.

Pong and Prakong both said the anti-dumping threat had only affected exports of white shrimp. Exports of black tiger prawns are continuing to rise due to few exporting countries. However, white-shrimp exports have |to compete with China and Vietnam.

Last year Thailand exported 130,000 tonnes of shrimp products to the US, accounting for 55 per cent of the country’s total exports of 220,000-230,000 tonnes. Of this total, white shrimp accounted for 40-50 per cent, and the remainder was black tiger prawns.

Achara Pongvutitham

THE NATION

From:

——————————–

Fisherfolk Coalition Forms

In 1985, Pred Nai villagers became concerned when nearby logging mangrove concessions began to over-harvest and prohibited the villagers from harvesting crabs, shells, fish and other forest products in the concession areas.

Even after the concessions were stopped, it was difficult to control outsiders and those within the village from harvesting or destroying resources.

The villagers have been developing a forest management plan for their mangrove forest, doing forest demarcation and also patrolling.

After managing their forests for some time, today (2004), a Mangrove Network has been developed involving a number of villages nearby. The villagers realized that the people of a single village could not implement successful and sustainable resource management, especially as there was no demarcation of boundaries and no regulations on forest utilization. The idea of networking was initiated and facilitated in the nearby villages who share the same boundaries with Pred Nai communities and later, the network was expanded to many other villages to become members of the Community Coastal Resource Management Network, Trat Province. From exchanging knowledge and experiences, the villagers have learnt from their successes and failures. Collaboration strengthens people to initiate new ideas and practices that respond to the communities’ needs.

Villagers strongly believe that, during early stage of the mud crab life cycle, crabs get out along the canals and out to the sea along the coastal areas and later on come back to live in the mangrove forests. Therefore, they consider as another strategy protection from destruction by commercial fisheries within 3 kilometers along seacoast e.g. push-net and trawlers. The protection campaign has also begun.

Since villagers gain experiences in working collaboratively with outsiders e.g. fishery experts to develop fishery production technology together, forester to experiment on thinning, linkages to other institutions have been actively developed. Some problems are beyond the villager’s abilities e.g. destructive fishery, to solve, thus linkages with other institutions are used as a tool in ways to find solution, e.g. network with other villages, collaboration with other institutions like government forestry and fishery, police patrol and politics. Now the mangrove forest management network has been formed in eastern Thailand: Grassroots villagers learn to find their way to being their problems directly to policy decision markers. Some Senators and Ministers visited Pred Nai to learn what is going on there.

——————————–

BKK POST March 10, 2004
MEKONG RIVER

Chinese dams upstream blamed for drastic decline in fish stock

But govt official says drought the real cause

Kultida Samabuddhi

The water level in this part of the Chi River, a tributary of the Mekong, in Yasothon province has dropped about 6-8 metres because of drought, the lowest level in many years. – Chaiyo Chaiyana Fishermen in Chiang Rai have complained about a sharp depletion of fish stock in the Mekong river, linking the decline to a series of hydro-power dams upstream in China.

“Fishermen in Chiang Rai used to earn about 40,000 baht a year, now we get no more than 10,000 baht a year because the fish have vanished,” Jeerasak Intayos, a fisherman from Chiang Khong district, told a seminar held by the Thai Society of Environmental Journalists.

“Most fishermen here have turned into construction workers because we could no longer get enough food and income from the river,” Mr Jeerasak said.

The fish stock decline began about six years ago following the completion of Manwan dam, the first Chinese dam on the Mekong river, in 1996, he said.

“What has happened to the Mekong is horrible. The local villagers have never experienced such uncommon phenomena like uneven water levels, extremely low water, and heavy sedimentation,” he said.

The villagers wanted the government to look into the problem and force China to minimise the impact of its dams on the environment, he said.

“It seems the government is afraid of mighty China and dares not touch China’s development projects despite their impacts on the livelihood of millions of people in the lower Mekong basin,” he said.

Chainarong Sretthachau, head of the Southeast Asia River Network (Searin) environmental group, said the Mekong fish catch had dropped about 50% from three years ago.

“Migratory fish usually spawn in Chiang Khong in February but we see very few of them this year,” he said.

Mr Chainarong linked the fish stock depletion to river water fluctuations caused by the construction and operation of the Chinese dams, as well as the clearance of rapids in the upper stretch of the river to improve navigation.

Suphot Tovichakchaikul, head of the Water Resources Department’s water crisis prevention centre, however, said the Chinese dams were only partly to blame for the sharp fall in the Mekong’s water levels.

Drought sweeping through the region was more likely a major cause, he said.

Only 16% of the Mekong’s total flow came from China, compared to 35% from Laos, 18% each from Thailand and Cambodia, and 11% from Vietnam. “This means the construction of dams in China has only a minor impact on the water volume downstream,” said Mr Suphot.

From:

Vietnam

VIETNAM NEWS Feb.28, 2004

Shrimp farms fight to meet demand as prices soar

MEKONG DELTA – Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are reeling from depleted stocks of shrimp and tra catfish while prices for the seafood continue to jump.

The bird flu has stepped up sales and exhausted supplies while last year’s lower prices forced some farmers to get out of the game.

In Soc Trang Province, farmers have already harvested 41,000ha of tiger prawns of a total 50,000ha of cultivation area.

Nguyen Thanh Son, a shrimp farmer from My Xuyen District, said the price of tiger prawns had increased by 20-30 per cent compared to Tet prices one month ago.

Deputy head of Vinh Chau District’s agricultural office, Hoang Van Tien, said stocks were dwindling because seafood sales were strong.

“The outbreak of bird flu has meant sales of seafood are up 30-35 per cent especially in Ha Noi, HCM City and Can Tho. Restaurants and families are replacing fowl with shrimp,” said Tien.

Lower prices last year compelled some farmers to scale down production, leading to less fish on the market this year.

Do Thi Bich Phuong, a tra catfish farmer from An Giang Province’s My Hoa Hung Commune, said she earned VND120 million (US$7,600) last year, less than previous years due to a drop in prices.

As a result she has cut production at her farm by a third. And there’s still a lot of uncertainty.

“Sales of tra are good now and fetching a high price. But I’m afraid of a drop in prices in the upcoming tra fish harvesting season next June,” Phuong said.

Many tra catfish and tiger prawn farmers sold out altogether.

Just before Tet, tra sold for VND8,000 per kilogram and prawns were VND60,000 per kilogram. Now, when tra is fetching VND15,000 per kilogram and prawns VND160,000, farmers have no fish or shrimp to sell.

Another local fish breeder, Khuu Manh Huong, said bad weather had killed off his crop of fish. That, coupled with the high prices of feed and fry, forced him to think hard about investing any more in aquaculture, he said.

Seafood processors have also been hit hard by small stocks and hefty prices.

An Giang Association of Aquaculture and Processing vice president Phan Van Danh said local processing plants were running at half capacity because of low seafood supplies.

“Processors are facing difficulty in getting enough raw materials or they don’t dare purchase the supplies because of the high prices,” said a Soc Trang Province processing plant official.

Shrimp farmers in Nam Dinh Province are dealing with the same problems.

Hoang Van Dau, a farmer from Nghia Phuc Commune, said he has suffered enough losses – estimated at VND40 million ($2,500) – over the past three years that he doesn’t dare invest any more into the trade.

Before Tet, he had sold all his shrimp but now with the maximum price up to VND160,000 per kilogram, his farm is empty. – VNS

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

S. ASIA

India

Hope along the Gujarat coastline

By Pankaj Sekhsaria

A small but promising mangrove restoration project takes off along highly degraded parts of the Gujarat coastline

This is a small dam that, believe it or not, has been constructed to stop the sea! At village Neja, Taluka Jambusar, Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat ‘s Bharuch district. It’s might not be as grandiose as it sound at first, but for the few hundred households of this tiny village located on the banks of the Mahi estuary it’s a promise of hope and prosperity. It does two things simultaneously. On one side it keeps out the saline water of the mighty oceans that can swamp the village fields during high tide. On the opposite side it has created a small reservoir that saves and stores precious freshwater, water that would otherwise have drained into the sea.

The dam is a small, really small, construction that stands between the lands of the poor villagers of Neja and the might of the Arabian Ocean . Standing on the dam wall at low tide, the impact is not something that really hits home. What one sees is only a small, narrow creek that leads up to the ocean. Between the wall and the sea is the huge intertidal zone, which is at least a kilometre in width, a huge area that gets completely inundated when the tides rise. Were it not for the dam that was built about a year or so ago, this is the water that would have proceeded much further. A process of creating a natural wall of mangroves along with the artificial one of the dam is also presently on in this area that once had a thick mangrove cover.

Another village along the same coast in the same area is Village Nada. The intertidal zone here, as in the case of Neja, was once covered with a thick mangrove cover. Older folk in the village say that till about the 1970s, the area was rich in mangroves and the plants here went up to a height of 10 feet and more. This is about the time the depletion started. A group of merchants from Kutch marched into the area with more than 2,000 camels. Powerful local elements had no problems allowing them to graze in the mangroves. The locals did protest but it was largely ineffective. The result was a rapid decline in the density and height of the mangrove forests; first to about five feet, further to less than three and finally by the 1990s the area here was virtually stripped of its mangrove cover. This destruction also saw intensified protests by the local communities and finally, 25 years after the camels first came in, the district administration ordered the removal of the camels and their owners. The other problem the mangroves faced in this region was the opening up of saltpans which prevented freshwater from reaching the mangrove areas and the collection of mangrove seeds by the poor for use as a vegetable.

The combined impact has meant that little was left of the mangroves. The first and most crucial wall of protection had been destroyed and it was only a matter of time before the sea started to move in and occupy the good cultivable land of the villagers. It is a common story across the coastline of Gujarat , resulting in severe degradation of the land and serious hardships for the local people. Fortunately for the villagers of Neja and Nada, there is now a silver lining on the horizon.

The Ahmedabad-based organisation VIKAS and its associates have been working in this area for a while. Their main work has been with the Rathore community, the landless and the most underprivileged in this region. The realisation dawned along the way that if the issue of the degradation and salination of the common lands in the village due to inundation by the sea during high tide could be dealt with, these lands could be put to productive use. In association with the Saline Area Vitalisation Enterprise (SAVE) Limited, a project for mangrove restoration was initiated in 2002 along with the Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC). The funding came from the Indo-Canadian Environment Facility. Scheduled to cover a total of 5,000 hectares, it is presently working in the Gulfs of Kutch and Khambhat. Areas covered in the Gulf of Kutch include Jakhau in Abdasa taluka where the facilitating agency is the Bhuj-based Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology. In the Gulf of Khambhat it is being implemented in the villages of Neja, Nada and Kantiajal in Bharuch district, Mahadevpura and Bhangadh in Dhandhuka taluka (district Ahmedabad) and Tada Talav/Wadgam in Khambat taluka (district Anand). The implementing agencies in Ahmedabad and Anand districts are the Dholera-based Mahiti Centre for Rural Development and Khambat-based Daheda Sangh respectively.

An important component of this six-year programme is the restoration of the mangrove cover in the intertidal zone, the target for Neja being 200 hectares, and for Nada 400 hectares. As a first step, free grazing in the area has been almost stopped with the help of the villagers. Trenches have been dug to trap seeds that fall from the present stand of mangroves and a nursery has been started for the propagation of seedlings. Considerable progress appears to have been made in a little more than a year since the project was initiated.

In Neja the small dam has done a good job of keeping the saline water away from the agricultural lands. Fodder grass production in the area has increased, reducing pressure on the mangroves; the small mangroves that are already standing have some protection; a full-fledged mangrove nursery is operational and a visibly promising new generation of naturally grown and planted mangrove saplings can be seen gently swaying in the ocean breeze!

– Pankaj Sekhsaria is an environmentalist with Kalpavriksh, a Pune-based environmental action group

From: “Infochange India” infochangeindia@dishnetdsl.net

——————————–

Coringa mangrove vegetation changes in last two decades:

Decadal changes in Coringa mangroves have been studied using past and recent satellite images: Landsat MSS image of 1977, Landsat TM of 1993 and IRS-1C LISS III image of 1999. …
Although declared as reserve forest between 1883 and 1900, the mangroves of the district had suffered important exploitation for wood until 1978 when it was declared as Wildlife Sanctuary. From 1893 onwards, the forest service planned wood exploitation with mangrove areas divided into blocks that in turn were clear-cut (Gazetteer of India, 1979). Today, woodcutting is prohibited; although nearby villagers continue to extract fire or construction wood mainly. On the 1977 image, polygon shape clear-cut areas as probably planned by the Forest Service for wood exploitation could still be clearly seen. Comparison with the 1993 image showed that the clear-cut areas had quite recovered then, as they could not be easily detected. Other areas where progression was observed are the mangroves in the Kakinada Bay, especially on the western part, and along River Gaderu. On the other hand, mangrove areas had been lost through erosion all along the coast. This trend is still true today as can be seen while comparing the 1993 and 1999 images. During that period, a relative progression in the northwest and a relative regression in the eastern parts can be noted. Regression is more visible as we move away from the main canals. The most noticeable changes in the mangrove areas are however due to shrimp culture. Until 1993, shrimp culture developed mostly on marsh/bare lands behind the mangroves, which could more easily be converted. Nevertheless, about 140 ha of mangrove had already been cleared for that purpose. Between 1993 and 1999, an area of about 1160 ha was claimed from paddies and about 450 ha from mangroves for aquaculture. The recovery of exploited areas within mangroves (as observed in 1993, compared to 1977), following the Coringa mangroves being declared as Wildlife Sanctuary in 1978, suggests that legislation has had a direct positive effect on mangrove tree canopy. In terms of species and size distribution, however, the impact of past coupes may not have been completely resorbed, as shown by the lower basal area in areas that were clear-cut in 1977. Past coupes may have had a more visible effect on areas that had been transformed into these dry areas with high soil salinity, where very few vegetation species can grow. It can be considered resulting from a natural process that had been worsened by repeated coupes. These areas have a topographical setup that allows them to be covered only during the highest tides, and the saltwater being unable to recede completely, stagnates, infiltrates, or evaporates, causing salinity to build up in the soil. Some of such areas have been chosen for reforestation by the Forest Department with the assistance of local NGOs such as M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and others, a clear case where remote sensing data played a crucial role.

From Dr. Satya’s Ph.D. Thesis entitled “Ecobiology and Remote Sensing based study of Coringa mangroves in the Godavari Delta, East Coast of India” sumitted during November 2003.

From: satyam

Bangladesh

Tigers kill 58 people in Sundarbans last year

THE DAILY STAR

Tigers of the Sundarbans forest killed 58 people in the Satkhira range last year.

According to sources, 60 others have survived tiger attacks in the swampy jungles during the period. The victims were mostly fishermen, woodcutters and honey collectors who had ventured into the forest.

Left with permanent disability, the survivors are now passing their days in extreme hardship.

Three tigers were also killed by the villagers in the last year, said sources at the western wing of the Sundarbans Forest Division.

One big cat was shot dead at Kadamtali village in February while another was beaten to death at Harinagar village in May.

And the third big cat lost its life in Kalbari village also in May.

The Sundarbans Forest Division maintains records of the victims killed by tigers while venturing into the forest with official permission, Satkhira Range officer Kazi Nurul Karim said, adding that it does not keep records of the poachers who lost their lives to the big cats.

Tigers enter human habitats when there is scarcity of natural prey in the forest, he said.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

OCEANIA
Australia

GREAT BARRIER REEF IS DOOMED, SAYS REPORT

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef–the world’s largest chain of living
coral and one of the seven wonders of the natural world–will be almost completely destroyed by rising sea temperatures by 2050, predicts a new report released by Queensland University’s Center for Marine Studies.
“Coral cover will decrease to less than 5 percent on most reefs by the middle of the century, under even the most favorable assumptions,” says the report, which goes on to forecast that damage to the reef–one of the world’s top tourist attractions–will cost Australia $6.3 billion and more than 12,000 jobs by 2020. Prime Minister John Howard’s conservative government has made some attempts to mitigate the damage, but Australia has not signed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and has no plans to do so. For more information, go to: MSNBC.com, Associated Press, 23 Feb 2004
The Independent, Kathy Marks, 23 Feb 2004

—SOURCE: Grist Magazine, February 23, 2004.
Subscribe to Grist Magazine’s free daily environmental news email.

From: Michelle Wildes
mwildes@THEOCEANPROJECT.ORG

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil

This story has been forwarded to you from WWW.ipsnews.net,

In the mangroves too.
TRADE-BRAZIL:

Shrimp – New Source of Tension with U.S.

By Mario Osava*
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 19 (IPS) – Brazil’s shrimp exports could follow the footsteps of Chile’s salmon, a successful fish-farming product that swiftly conquered markets overseas but for which it suffered threats of trade barriers in the United States.

Brazil’s shrimp production has been growing by more than 50 percent a year, from 3,600 tons in 1997 to 40,000 tons in 2003. Exports reached 258 million dollars last year.

The goal is to export 500 million dollars worth of shrimp by 2005, and to become the world leader in 2010, with exports that
could climb to “perhaps 1.5 billion dollars,” the president of the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Farmers (ABCC), Itamar Rocha,
told IPS.

But the euphoria has run up against a major obstacle. The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), which represents the shrimp
industry in the eight U.S. shrimp-producing states, filed anti-dumping complaints against Thailand, China, Vietnam, India,
Brazil, and Ecuador in late December.

In its complaint before the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, the SSA accused those
countries of dumping — exporting products at prices deemed artificially low. The SSA is demanding that “anti-dumping” tariffs be
imposed on shrimp imports from those countries, ranging from 30
to 99 percent on shrimp from Vietnam and between 119 and 267 percent for shrimp from China, the world’s biggest shrimp
exporter. In the case of Brazil, the U.S. shrimp producers want duties of 40 to 230 percent.

If the complaint is admitted and the import duties are put in place, the U.S. market would be virtually closed to the world’s leading shrimp exporters. The United States is a key market for Brazilian shrimp farmers, as it purchases 45 percent of this country’s exports.

Rocha said the SSA complaint is not justified, because the reason Brazil’s shrimp is competitive is that the country’s shrimp farming industry has the highest production level in the world: 6.4 tons per hectare of saltwater, nearly double that of Thailand, the second most efficient producer.

That productivity level is the result of the technology that Brazilians have developed, and of the dry, sunny climate in
northeastern Brazil, where production continues year-round, in contrast to other countries, where low temperatures and rain
bring the activity to a halt for several months each year, he explained.

The arid, sunny climate of the northeast makes it possible to raise shrimp on cheaper, more natural food, said Rocha. Brazil is also free of pests that attack shrimp farm operations in other nations, which means local shrimp producers also save on
chemicals, he added.

Chile’s salmon producers have faced a similar situation since 1997. But last July, investigations determined that Chile’s exports were not being dumped on the U.S. market below cost.

Brazil’s special secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries, José Fritsch, announced that he would invite representatives of the U.S. government and shrimp farmers to Brazil, to become familiar with local production techniques and verify for themselves that Brazilian producers do not resort to dumping and receive no government subsidies.
Fritsch said his hope is that the U.S. Department of Commerce will not accept the complaint, because the United States imports almost 90 percent of the shrimp consumed in that country. He pointed out that the suspension of imports would threaten the nearly 100,000 jobs generated by the
shrimp-processing sector in the United States.

In Brazil, shrimp farming employs 52,000 people, including workers in breeding labs, farms and hatcheries, and the processing industry. But it could generate many more jobs if the sector exported value-added products, said Rocha. So far the sector exports only unprocessed shrimp. But this
year, the industry will incorporate 14 new forms of packaging, such as peeled shrimp with tails and precooked shrimp. Production
of value-added products should double by 2005, and the products should make headway in more demanding markets and lead to the
creation of more jobs in Brazil, said Rocha.

However, shrimp farmers also face complaints of environmental damages, as shrimp farms operate in mangroves, fragile, unique ecosystems formed where the sea and freshwater meet, and where the vegetation is ideal for the breeding of fish and crustaceans.
That makes it an activity without a great future, economist Antonio Buainain, a professor at the University of Campinas in
southern Brazil, told IPS.

But Rocha said “that is not true,” and argued that shrimp farming in mangroves is a thing of the past in Brazil. He asserted that a visit to the new shrimp farms that have mushroomed in northeastern Brazil demonstrates that the complaints “are ideological, from those who are unfamiliar with the way things are done today,” said Rocha.

Aquaculture requires large amounts of ocean water, for which canals must be built, and doing so in mangroves is not cost-effective, he argued. “The ABCC is very concerned about the environment, and has sponsored studies on the possible pollution that could be caused by the water that runs out of the shrimp
pools,” he said.
(* Gustavo González in Chile contributed to this report.)

From Robin Lewis, LESrrl3@aol.com

Honduras

VERDICT
OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN WATER TRIBUNAL

With so much satisfaction and considering the facts presented by CODDEFFAGOLF, the Central American Water Tribunal resolves the following:

1. To indicate emphatically the responsibility of the shrimp company Granjas Marinas San Bernardo for contamination and the shrimp company El Faro for damages to the wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca.

2. To censor the Government of the Republic of Honduras for the nonfulfilment of its international obligations that are derived from the RAMSAR Convention for the protection of wetlands, especially those that serve as refuge areas for migratory birds.

3. In solidarity make responsible the IFC / World Bank for financings projects that have had serious environmental consequences in the ecosystems and the population of the Gulf of Fonseca.

All of this is the result of the Audience celebrated on March 18th, 2004, at the Central American Water Tribunal, in the city of San Jose, Costa Rica, because of the demand presented by CODDEFFAGOLF against the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank; the Government of Honduras and the companies Granjas Marinas San Bernardo and El Faro.

Later we will be sending the complete document.

Once more CODDEFFAGOLF has given execution to its vision and mission around the problematic situation of the Gulf of Fonseca in Honduras.

From: cgolf@coddeffagolf.net
STORIES/ISSUES
CONGO: World’s Second Largest Rainforest to be Destroyed

By Forests.org, Inc. - WWW.forests.org/
March 18, 2004

The World Bank and United Nations are seeking to increase logging by 60 times in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s priceless ancient rainforests. They are doing so without a government in place and against local opposition.

Where is the outrage? It takes one minute to protest turning Congo’s rainforest wilderness into diminished tree farms. Please do so at:

WWW.forests.org/action/africa/

The alert has been updated to now target the UN as well. Alert
participation has not been as high as desired. Consider that similar
protests in Papua New Guinea have helped reduce industrial logging of primary rainforests by 80%. Who will protect the World’s last wildlands, if not you?

Please forward this alert widely, organize supporting protests and visit the alert again to send your message to the UN. This is tremendously important. If industrial logging becomes established in the Congo to the degree it has elsewhere, there is little hope that Congolese rainforests – and their ecosystems, species and peoples – will be sustained.

From: “Forests.org”

——————————–

UNDISTURBED AMAZONIAN FORESTS ARE CHANGING, SAY
SCIENTISTS

Source: Copyright 2004, Nature, Date: March 10, 2004
Byline: Press Release

A research team of U.S. and Brazilian scientists has shown that rainforests in central Amazonia are experiencing striking changes in dynamics and species composition.

Although the cause of these changes — in what are believed to be completely undisturbed, old-growth forests — is uncertain, a leading explanation is that they are being driven by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide levels have risen by 30% in the last 200 years as a result of industrial emissions, automobiles, and rapid forest burning, especially in the tropics. Much of this increase has occurred since 1960. Plants use carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis.

“The changes in Amazonian forests really jump out at you,” said William Laurance, a U.S. scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Laurance is the lead author of the paper, which appeared this week in the scientific journal Nature. “It,s a little scary to realize that seemingly pristine forests can change so quickly and dramatically.”

For the past two decades, the research team studied the fate of nearly 14,000 trees in the central Amazon, scattered across a landscape of 120 square miles in area. During the course of the study, most species of trees began growing faster. The forests also became more dynamic, with existing trees dying faster and being replaced by young new trees.

Even more important is that the species composition of the forest is changing. “There clearly are winners and losers,” said Alexandre Oliveira of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, another team member. “In general, large, fast-growing trees are winning at the expense of smaller trees that live in the forest
understory.”

“The decline of many small trees is intriguing because they tend to be so specialized,” said Henrique Nascimento, a Brazilian researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
“They live in the dark interior of the forest, and are the only trees that can flower and reproduce in deep shade.”

The most likely reason for these changes, say the researchers, is that rising carbon-dioxide levels are fertilizing the forests, leading to faster growth and more competition among trees for light, water, and soil nutrients. Under these conditions, big, fast-growing species of trees probably have an advantage over small, slower-growing trees.

“Sadly, this could be a signal that the forest,s ecology is changing in fundamental ways,” said team-leader Laurance.
“Tropical rainforests are renowned for having lots of highly specialized species. If you change the tree communities then other species — especially the animals that feed on and pollinate the trees — will undoubtedly change as well.”

“This appears to be yet another signal of effects on nature from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and associated climate change,” said Thomas Lovejoy of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and Environment in Washington, D.C., who helped to establish the tree study in central Amazonian over two decades ago. “We really need more research to see if these remarkable changes are also happening in other tropical forests around the world. If they are, then it,s likely that even the world,s remotest forests are now being altered by human activities.”

For further information, contact:

Dr William F. Laurance
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Email: LauranceW@tivoli.si.edu

From: WWW.Forests.org

——————————–

New Report Offers Insights Into TRIPS

Report from Grain in Spain

Abstract: This report intends to assess the implications of the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for coastal communities’ access to, and control over, aquatic biodiversity. To this end, it reviews marine biodiversity, coastal communities’ traditional ecological knowledge systems (TEKS) and the biodiversity they have conserved, and the industrial exploitation of marine genetic resources; it then analyzes TRIPS and the CBD as applied to marine biodiversity, and the implications of TRIPS and the CBD for both coastal States and fishing communities’ access to marine resources, control over their knowledge, and share of the benefits; lastly, it ends with some proposals for further research and action by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

1. Foreword
Over the past few years, the matter of who controls biodiversity and associated knowledge has been high on the agenda of international development and environmental discourse. Discussions on this issue have been fuelled by both the ever-increasing restrictions on farmers’ rights to save seeds and public outrage on a pandemic of biopiracy- the unauthorized appropriation of the plants, knowledge and even the cells of indigenous peoples and local communities the world over.
Coastal communities, however, have been largely marginalized from these debates.
This report is the outcome of a one-month desk research on the implications of the international legal framework regulating control over biodiversity, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The research focuses on the medicinal use of marine biodiversity, both in traditional ecological knowledge systems (TEKS) andWestern industry, and in aquaculture.
This research was commissioned by the International Collective in
Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

From: Anna Rosa Martinez
annarosam@yahoo.com

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Atomically modified rice in Asia

A nanotech research initiative in Thailand aims to atomically modify the characteristics of local rice varieties – including the country’s famous jasmine rice – and to circumvent the controversy over Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Nanobiotech takes agriculture from the battleground of GMOs to the brave new world of Atomically Modified Organisms (AMOs).

Please, for further details visit:
www.etcgroup.org

From: Hope Shand

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Bank’s Draft Principles for a Code of Conduct Require More Input From Local Communities

The version of the “Principles for a Code of Conduct …” currently available for Download will be translated into Spanish for comments by local NGO’s. It may take some time as the translation is being carried out on a voluntary basis after normal working hours (there is no budget available to pay for the translation).

A French version should also be made at a later stage.
We have not decided on a Portuguese version. However, we hope that with additional funding the document can also be translated into Portuguese.

Cheers

Thomas Nielsen

DOWNLOAD “Code of Conduct files”.

At 05:53 PM 3/22/2004 -0500, Secretar?a-Redmanglar wrote:

Quito, 22 de Marzo de 2004
RM-E-2004-Q-005

Dr. Thomas Nielsen
Universidad de Aarhus
Dinamarca

Mr. Ron Zweig
Banco Mundial
Estados Unidos
(a continuaci?n en Espa?ol)

Dr. Nielsen and Mr. Zweig,
Through Alfredo Quarto from MAP (Mangrove Action Project) we have been informed about the advances in the proposed Principles for a Code of Conduct for Mangrove Management and Conservation. As we have read, the World Bank is working together with the University of Aarhus in Denmark in the elaboration of this document.
We have downloaded the document in order to review and comment it, and we were willing to deliver it through our partner organizations in Redmanglar. However, this document is entirely in English and involves important and complex technical material.
We desire that you open a discussion about this issue by delivering the draft in other languages such as Spanish and Portuguese. We understand that the English language is spoken worldwide, however the communities of indigenous peoples working directly with the mangroves, its local leaders and most NGOs working in the mangrove issues in Latinamerica don’t have enough tools to review a technical document in this language which is not our mother tongue.
Since the mangroves are a privilege of the countries located in the South, in the tropical and subtropical zones of the world, we believe that South America and Central America have the right to comment about proposed codes of conduct in the management of their own ecosystem before they are delivered as a finished document for its implementation.
We understand that you are opening a discussion trying to involve as many shareholders in this issue as possible. Please make the necessary arrangements to translate the draft both to Spanish and Portuguese so that our communities, our leaders and our organizations are involved in this process where we are the main actors in the decision making and pospone the deadline to receive these comments until a translation is delivered..
We will appreciate very much your response to this petition.

Sincerely,
Lider Gongora F.
Executive Secretariat
Redmanglar

——————————–

Bees and Forests

Nicola Bradbear is preparing a new text on ‘Bees and forests’ and is seeking interesting case studies from around the world, especially information about bees and mangroves. The text will be published by FAO’s Forestry Division later in 2004. Please send information to:

Dr Nicola Bradbear
Bees for Development
Troy, Monmouth, NP25 4AB, UK
info@beesfordevelopment.org

Bees for Development is an organisation that seeks to support beekeepers in developing countries with useful information: find more details at www.beesfordevelopment.org

——————————–

First ICWRP project: Mexico’s Sian Ka’an Ramsar Site

The International Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (ICWRP) is an innovative voluntary public-private global initiative to restore impaired but ecologically important wetlands and other aquatic habitat in watersheds around the world. The ICWRP partnership — a combined effort of several partners, including The Gillette Company, the United Nations Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Coastal America Foundation — will engage the private sector and develop cohesive partnerships that join technical, financial, and administrative resources to help reverse the disappearance of wetlands.

The ICWRP was launched yesterday, 22 March 2003, in Miami, Florida, USA, with Ramsar’s Margarita Astrálaga participating, and it was announced that the ICWRP’s inaugural project will focus on Mexico’s Sian Ka’an World Heritage site, Biosphere Reserve and (since November 2003) Ramsar Site. The US$750,000 project seeks to protect Sian Ka’an’s critical coastal habitats and ensure the viability of the region’s freshwater and marine systems against threats from coastal development, unregulated tourism, and unsustainable farming and fishing practices, and the project is being implemented by the Mexican environmental organization Amigos de Sian Ka’an.

A press release on this important development can be found on the Web site of The Nature Conservancy, reprinted at RAMSAR.

More information about the ICWRP partnership and Ramsar’s role can be found at www.icwrp.org.

The Ramsar press release on the signing of the agreement with the Coastal America Foundation, part of the ICWRP, in January 2004.

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar

——————————–

Journal To Address Enviro Management Issues

A new SETAC-Journal which specifically addresses environmental management issues: International Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM). IEAM aims to be one of the premier scientific forums for presenting data, promoting dialogue, and fostering an
improved awareness of the significance of environmental and scientific research to the development of sound approaches to environmental problem-solving, environmental management strategies, and regulatory policy and law.

It moves beyond how to do an assessment to examine the interface between assessment and management, and how the context in which management is operating has an influence on assessment design and application.

For more information, please visit the IEAM website.

From: Susanne Heise s.heise@tu-harburg.de

——————————–

Earth Day – Let’s Take a Stand Together

Earth Day is the kind of international force that makes global change possible. The power in Earth Day comes from people like you. Here at EDN, we are very grateful for your part in this international movement – your efforts inspire people the world over and help to keep hope alive.

I hope that you will join us on 22 April, this year – just over a month away. In the last week or so, you would have heard from the international team about our theme for this year, which is clean water. I invite you to take whatever Earth Day action is appropriate for your group and your community. Whether you undertake something very small, such as a personal commitment to conserve water, or something on a bigger scale, we applaud your involvement, and we thank you for your role in helping to make this world a better place.

I look forward to staying in contact with you as Earth Day approaches. As you develop your plans, please ensure to register them on our website so we can

From: end@earthday.net

——————————–

World Ocean Day is June 8th!

Visit www.WorldOceanDay.org !

The Ocean Project is working with organizations around the world, including the World Ocean Network, as well as our North American planning committee, to promote this annual celebration of the ocean, and to stimulate aquatic and ocean conservation action from people all over the planet. Begun after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, World Ocean Day is still not receiving enough attention and we aim to change that!

Whether you are at an inland zoo or conservation organization, or a coastal museum or aquarium, there is much you can do with and for your visitors and members to celebrate World Ocean Day! If you are planning an event this June 8, please submit a WOD event form, so that we can promote your event on our World Ocean Day web-pages and keep track of worldwide WOD efforts.

From: Michelle Wildes

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
Coastal Zone Asia-Pacific Conference in Brisbane Australia, September 2004.

AQUACULTURE CORNER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Young, Producer
melissa@movingimages.org

Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming

NET LOSS: THE STORM OVER SALMON FARMING
52 minutes, 2003
KQED/San Francisco- Sunday, April 18, 5 p.m. and KCTS/Seattle – Wed. April
21, 8 p.m.[and many others on other dates/times]

All over the world, fish are at the heart of people’s diets and cultures. And on the North Pacific coast, there’s no fish like the legendary salmon.
An important element in Native mythology, a livelihood for generations of fishermen, and a staple of the Northwest diet, the salmon has become an icon for this region.

But decades of habitat loss and poor fisheries management have threatened our wild salmon runs. One new alternative, the commercial farming of salmon in underwater cages, has promised more fish for people to eat and less pressure on the wild salmon. So what are the repercussions of salmon
aquaculture on our marine environment and coastal communities?

Filmed in British Columbia, Washington, and Chile, the new documentary, NET LOSS: THE STORM OVER SALMON FARMING, examines this industrial approach to producing salmon from both local and global perspectives. Government and industry spokesmen make the case for salmon farming, and fishermen, Native people, scientists and chefs explain the dangers it may pose for the
environment, human health, and coastal cultures.

Those who appear include whale biologist Alexandra Morton, Joseph McGonigle
of Aqua Bounty Farms, Rodrigo Infante of Salmonchile, Seth Zuckerman, co-author of Salmon Nation, former Canadian MP Lynn Hunter, Chief Bill Cranmer, Namgis First Nation [BC], and independent fishermen North and
South.

With recent major articles about the implications of fish farming published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and local papers along the
Northwest Coast from Oregon to Alaska, more and more people are growing concerned about the source and quality of a favorite food. This timely film, combining lush photography, lively music, and an engaging narrative, lays out the issues in a way that is understandable and highly watchable.

Contact Information:
For video copies: Bullfrog Films, 800-543-3764, video@bullfrogfilms.com
Filmmakers: Melissa Young, Mark Dworkin, info@movingimages.org

——————————–

69 per cent ‘prefer taste of wild salmon’ over farmed

The Vancouver Sun, 16 Mar 2004

VANCOUVER – Sixty-nine per cent of British Columbians prefer the taste of wild salmon over farm-raised, and 72 per cent believe that eating the wild product is better for the environment than eating the farmed, according to a public opinion poll released Monday.

While British Columbians overwhelmingly prefer wild fish on environmental and taste grounds, a lesser number, 53 per cent, consider farmed salmon a “major environmental hazard” while 56 per cent believe they pose a “major risk to wild stocks of salmon.”

Among those consumers worried about buying farmed salmon, chemicals and toxins, including antibiotics and PCPs, are listed as the main concerns.

Fifty-three per cent of British Columbians also believe that restaurants that serve only wild salmon have higher quality compared with 50 per cent for grocery stores that only sell wild.

From: Lynn Hunter hunterlynn@shaw.ca

——————————–

Race underway to craft rules for U.S. fish farming

Naples Daily News
By Cathy Zollo
March 13, 2004

The race is on to write the rules that will govern fish farming in U.S. waters, particularly the Gulf of Mexico.

Over recent weeks, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has sought comment from fishermen, environmentalists, fish farmers and aspiring fish farmers on what they’d like to see in the rules.

About 100 fishermen and others showed up for a scoping meeting in Key West on Monday, but only about a dozen stayed late to talk about fish farming.

Wayne Swingle, executive director of the fishery council, said it was a hot topic at other meetings around the Gulf.

All the effort — eight meetings in all five Gulf states — might be for nothing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been crafting legislation that would streamline the permitting process and open U.S. waters to leasing by aquaculture entrepreneurs, though insiders and observers say the effort is stalled.

Such legislation would pre-empt any rules put forth by the fishery council, but the groups that want a say in writing any fish farming rules showed up anyway to make suggestions, including one to just drop it.

That came from environmentalists, entrepreneurs and those with social and economic concerns, but their opposition arose from different concerns.

Environmentalists say not enough is known about open ocean fish farming to proceed so hastily with rule-making. Those rules add up to several dozen pages of regulations that address everything from the kind of fish aquaculturists could raise or modify to where facilities could operate and what kinds of permits they would require.

Marianne Cufone, program manager with The Ocean Conservancy in St. Petersburg, said now is not the right time to begin such rule-making for several reasons.

“I’m confused by the sudden push for open ocean aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico,” she said. “There is not yet the right science. Everything is fragmented.”

From: SeaWeb Aquaculture Clearinghouse

——————————–

Profit ahead of conservation: tuna farming in the Mediterranean is out of control

WWF Press release 
3/1/2004

The booming tuna farming industry in the Mediterranean is spiralling out of control and threatens the survival of the highly-endangered bluefin tuna, WWF warned today. The conservation organization has left an international body on tuna farming practices for putting profit ahead of conservation, and
is highly critical of the EU, whose subsidies boost tuna fishing and farming activities.

Tuna farming – the fattening of wild bluefin tuna in cages – has increased by close to 50 percent in the Mediterranean last year, to reach 21,000 tonnes. It is driven mainly by the Japanese market demand for “sushi”. According to WWF, this has dramatically increased the amount of bluefin tuna caught from an already overexploited stock in the Mediterranean by a growing
industrial fleet.

Because it was dominated by the industry and failed to come up with
effective measures to address the problem, WWF has quit a working group on sustainable tuna farming coordinated by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the International Commission for th Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – the two most important bodies for the regulation of fisheries in the Mediterranean.

From: mskladany@iatp.org

AROUND THE CORNER
Regarding the spread of Nypah in the Niger Delta:

From Francis Nwosu,

I have known the work of NCF in this regard. As at 2000 in a Workshop at University of Uyo, the products NCF presented were not what the local people would like to engage in. However, we (I and Prof. Holzloehner) had proposed in a paper the use of nypa sap as it is done in Indonesia and other Asian countries where nypa was importted from. This proposal was sent through the Vice Chancelor of my University to the Minister, Ministry of Environment, even at
thier request. But we had got no response since that time. At the moment, I am not aware yet of NCF teaching on the use of nypa sap, and I will like to know the location of such project too.

I am a Lecturer at the Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar. I have been interested in habitat management, especially mangrove. We made an initial survey and mapping of the Cross River Mangrove, established that nypa dominance over
indigeneous mangrove was anthropogenically induced, and correlated nypa density with loss of mangrove in areas of high human concentration of utilization of mangrove. We also proposed the establishment of Mangrove Park in the area to protect the existing mangrove.

======

From Ben Brown
map-indo@dps.centrin.net.id

Indeed Nypah has been reintroduced to the region after a long absence (the Pleistocene), and indeed Nypah has the characteristics of an invasive plant, spreading vegatatively along river banks with its rhizomatous underground trunk. But to say that it is competing with natural mangrove vegetation may or may not be the case. Nypah usually natural monospecific stands in deep mud where there is a source of fresh water, and it surely oucompetes some herb-like mangrove associates, but seldom established mangrove trees. Like the report says, if Nypah is spreading in an area where mangrove once grew it is due to human pressure on the mangroves in the first place. Thus combating the spread of Nypah is treating the symptoms but not the roots cause of the problem. Working with local communities to promote sustainable utilization of local mangrove species bot directly (sustainably harvested wood, medecine etc) and indirectly as fisheries habitat is what is needed. Otherwise what you will be left with is no Nypah and no mangrove and plenty of eroding muddy river banks .

Late Friday News, 133rd Ed., 12 March 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 133rd Edition of the Late Friday News.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 133rd Edition, 12 March 2004
FEATURE STORY
Fishermen in Sundarban in dire straits

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Things Are Really Cooking At Tiwoho’s CCRC!
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

AFRICA
Nigeria
Community groans under massive oil spill from Shell’s facility.
US AID/ Shell Oil Plans Include Shrimp Farms In Nijer Delta

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand
Village head, 4 others, arrested for triple murder
Potential duties spur heavy exports to US
Charges may take effect on Friday

Indonesia
Large Scale Shrimp Farming and Impacts on Women
Women and sustainable development in Indonesia

Vietnam
U.S.-Vietnam Ties Raise Hopes, Hackles

S. ASIA

Bangladesh
Bangladesh says tiger numbers burning bright
Shatkhira Sundarbans Deforestation for Shrimp Culture
Sundarbans: Back to the wall, fishermen take to logging
Eco-huts to be built in Sundarbans
Switzerland to help produce organic shrimps for exports

OCEANIA
New Caledonia
Following the Money Trail: Unanswered Questions

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil
Brazil’s Shrimp Caught Up in a Trade War

Honduras
The “MALINCHES” MINISTERS

NORTH AMERICA
USA
So Much Shrimp

STORIES/ISSUES
Corals, Seagrass and Mangroves, Essential Ingrdients
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Thematic Review on Coastal Wetland Habitats and Shrimp Aquaculture.
Society of Wetland Scientists’ Ramsar Support Grant Program

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
World Conservation Forum, Bangkok,
“IN DEFENCE OF LAND AND LIVELIHOOD”

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Aquaculture is farming, not fishing, report says

FEATURE STORY
Editor’s Note: The shrimp industry purports to provide many jobs for poor coastal people.-supposedly thousands of jobs. However, those jobs are more often than not short-term and highly destructive, leaving both environmental and economic ruin in their wake. The following story clearly illustrates one such industry repurcusion:

Fishermen in Sundarban in dire straits
Ban on netting shrimp fry hits them in belly

JULHAS RIPON back from Sundarban
NewAge, March 2, 2004, Dhaka, Bangladesh
www.newagebd.com

Several hundreds of poor fishermen living in different chars of Sundarban are trapped in �dadan� (debt), as they are not capable of returning borrowed money to the lenders this time due to the government�s ban on fishing of shrimp fry in the coastal rivers.
Following the strict enforcement of the government�s ban since last December, the fishermen are in great distress due to the sudden shrinking of their income sources.
The government enforced the ban to protect the country�s fish population as the fishermen destroy different fish species while netting shrimp fry.
The dadan is a traditional money-lending system in rural Bangladesh, where the influential money-lenders give the money to the needy in advance and are repaid by products or services.
As the indiscriminate fry collection from coastal rivers is destructive, the government banned collection of fry of shrimp and other fish from the coastal belt through promulgation of a law in September 2000, though it was not enforced strictly before out of consideration for the fishermen.
Talking to New Age recently at Joymoni village under Chandpai Range of the Sundarban, many villagers, mainly fishermen, said they were passing their days in misery as they are facing both the dadan-wallahs and the police.
Some of the dadan-wallahs have already filed cases against some poor fishermen complaining that �they lent the money during the needy days of the fishermen, but now they are not returning the money�.
The situation is the same in other villages such as Holdeyboni, Bouddabari, Katakhali, Sundartola, Telikhali, Amtola, Kalatola, Keyaboni, Jipdhora, Amarboina and Kuchgonia.
The villagers said that about 80 per cent of them have no land to cultivate and, as their main profession is in a critical situation and they have no other alternative to fishing, they are in no position to return the money to the dadan-wallahs.
The villagers of the nearby area mainly used to collect shrimp fry from the river Pashur, a major river that flows through the world�s largest coastal mangrove forest.
�We understand the government�s concern about the fish population, but what will we do to earn a living?� asked Aman Gazi, a fisherman at Joymoni Bazar in Chilai Union Parishad under Chandpai Range.
He said he had a family of five and had no land other than the site of his hut. �Then how can we survive if I am not allowed to catch shrimp fry?� he questioned.
Gazi said he took Tk 20,000 as loan from a local, influential shrimp businessman last year, but he could not supply the shrimp fry to him though he had used the money for buying nets and related purposes.
�I have only repaid Tk 3,000 to him, but now he wants me to return the rest of the amount,� Gazi said sadly, adding that the money-lender recently threatened him with dire consequences.
The other villagers, who have some arable lands in the area, were also dependent on catching shrimp fry or doing shrimp fry business.
They said due to abnormal increase of salinity in the land in the last few years, the production of rice and other crops has declined significantly.
Villager Mohammed Sultan Gazi told New Age that they can produce only eight maunds of Amon rice in one bigha (33 decimals), which is not economically viable.
�I am lucky that I have some land, but most of the villagers are in tremendous trouble for lack of cash,� he added.
On the other hand, the dadan-wallahs are also in a dilemma as a huge amount of their money is in the
fishermen�s hands. One of them denied the allegations of threatening or filing cases against the poor fishermen.
�I lent Tk 2 lakh to the fishermen, but I cannot get back the money from them,� said Sheikh Abul Kashem, a dadan-wallah. �Now I do not know what will happen to my family if I lose the amount.�
The forest department officials told New Age that they have no plan to withdraw the ban as the government has taken the issue seriously.
“�We want to continue the ban for the sake of increasing and protecting fish population in the coastal belt,” said Mohammed Ali Kabir Haider, forest conservator in the Khulna Circle.

From: Zakir Kibria

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at:WEBSITE

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

Things Are Really Cooking At Tiwoho’s CCRC!

Follow-up from the Improved Cookstove and Kitchen Design Workshop.

Two community groups were formed after the improved cookstove and kitchen workshop (held in February, 2004 at Tiwoho community’s recently constructed (nearly completed) Coastal Communities Resource Center in N. Sulawesi, Indonesia). The first group is called CIRARO, which means “to work together-volunteer style.� Ibu Yemmi is the leader of thegroup. The
second is called BAPAKA, which means to paddle a canoe together and is
headed up by Ibu Masni.

CIRARO has held 5 meetings since the workshop, producing 11 improved cookstoves for domestic use. The group has modified the portable one pot “Sonder� design studied at the workshop and added a small space for grilling fish. Members of the group have also met with the village head,s wife and the wife of the minister to make some larger permanent two pot cookstoves and an charcoal grill for grilling fish.

On the 9th of March the group met and formalized a small administration, choosing Ibu Yemi for the Group Leader, Ibu Dona as secretary and Ibu Sherl as Treasurer. They are pooling their resources to make a small shelter for storing cookstoves which they plan to sell commercially. Tuesdays and Fridays have been chosen as meeting days and the group hopes to produce 2 cookstoves at each meeting until the entire group (35 women) own their own improved cookstoves.

The BAPAKA group was formed on March 7, and has held 2 meetings producing 4 wood burning stoves and one charcoal grill. A larger two hole cookstove produced during the main workshop is now in use (after drying for 3 weeks) and the owners attest to the fact that it cooks much faster than their traditional stove and uses only 1/3 the amount of wood. They are pleased.

When evey member of both groups have their own cookstoves, they wil begin construction of larger, permanent two hole cookstoves for interested families. Several member of the group have also discussed commercialization of portable cookstoves but are waiting to gain more experience building cookstoves as a collective group.

From: map-indo

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2.GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conservemangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience.  www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A 10 day mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of September 2004. MAP has received word from the local organizing NGO, SAVE, based in Akumal that a September date was more favorable for local organizing and preparations purposes. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first ofmany Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com  . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

ERA FIELD REPORT #130: SHELL’S BOGUS SABOTAGE CLAIMS

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION (ERA)
E-mail: eraction@infoweb.abs.net
www.eraction.org
DESPATCHLINE: OKU-AGHORO, EKEREMOR LGA, BAYELSA STATE, NIGERIA
FROM: OSAYANDE OMOKARO & ADAKA INENO MORRIS

DATE: FEBRUARY 25, 2004

Community groans under massive oil spill from Shell’s facility..Shell, community differ on cause of spill. Shell attributes incident to sabotage, rules out compensation. Shell resumes operation, refuses to clear spill

Oku-Aghoro is a riverine Ijaw community located in Ekeremor Local Government
Area of Bayelsa State. The local people are predominantly fisher-folks, although some also engage in subsistence farming.

Shell commenced crude oil exploitation in the community in 1965 and has six oil wells and a flow-station in the area. The community is grossly underdeveloped and lacks basic amenities such electricity, pipe borne water
and health services.

On February 16, 2004, a massive oil spill occurred at Shell’s Trans-Ramos pipeline located at Oku-Aghoro Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The said pipeline, which is used by Shell to transport crude oil from the area to its export terminal at Escravos, spewed over
1,500 barrels of crude oil into the Aghoro river and surrounding creeks, thus endangering aquatic life and disrupting fishing activities in the area.

Aghoro River, which is the only source of drinking water in the area, and the surrounding creeks in which the local people carry out their fishing activities were severely polluted by the spill. Fishing gadgets, such as
nets, hooks and wooden canoes were also submerged by the thick sludge formed
by the oil spill. The devastating oil spill also spread through rivers and creeks to neighboring communities like Ogbotobo, Opukashi and Benesede.

During an assessment tour of the affected areas, it was discovered that the faulty pipeline had been repaired. However, crude oil sludge and sheen were seen still floating on the Aghoro River and the surrounding creeks in the area. It was also observed, during the assessment tour, that the spill has
seriously impacted the surrounding vegetation and mangrove trees, thus causing them to wither. Offensive odours emanating from the crude oil hung thickly in the air while the local people were seen still pulling out their fishing nets and canoes from the polluted creeks.

SHELL ATTRIBUTES SPILL TO SABOTAGE, RULES OUT COMPENSATION FOR COMMUNITY PEOPLE

ERA’s investigation at Oku-Aghoro Community reveals that as soon the spill
was noticed on the 16th of February, 2004, the incident was promptly reported to Shell officials at their zonal office in Warri. However, community people informed ERA that it took Shell about three days to respond
to the distress call sent to them.

Mr. Oweizide Orubu, a youth leader in the area, informed ERA that some Shell officials who eventually came to the community on the 19th of February, 2004, to investigate the cause of the spill accused the local people of
sabotage and vowed to make them pay for their crime. Mr. Orubu further explained that a “joint investigation report”, which the people never contributed to, was later written by Shell officials and circulated to the
media….

…Apparently dissatisfied with the sabotage claim by Shell, some community people have already called on the presidency to set up an independent panel of enquiry to unravel the true cause of the spill….aa result of the strong opposition to the sabotage claim as well as the lack of evidence to support this claim, Shell has agreed to conduct another round of investigation to identify the true cause of the spill. ERA calls on Shell to involve the community people in this round of
investigation!

SHELL RESUMES OPERATIONS, REFUSES TO CLEAR SPILL

Further investigation by ERA Field Monitors reveals that three days after the spill, some Shell officials came to the community to repair their faulty facility. It was gathered from community people that the leaking portion of the said pipeline was clamped while some booms were deployed on the Aghoro River and the surrounding creeks, so as to contain the rapid spread of the
crude oil.

Local people interviewed by ERA in the community explained that no clean up
exercise was conducted by Shell in the affected areas. ERA’s investigation in the affected areas corroborated this claim. Crude oil sheen and sludge were seen still floating on the Aghoro River and the surrounding creeks.

Although, Shell is yet to clear the crude oil spill from its facility, normal work has since resumed at its Aghoro flow-station and other oil installations in the area. This is clear a demonstration of Shell’s insensitivity to the plight of its host community and their environment.

ERA RECOMMENDS THAT SHELL SHOULD

- Stop accusing the local people of sabotage and involve them in the investigation process aimed at unraveling the actual cause of the spill
- Immediately commence a proper clean-up exercise in the Aghoro River and the adjoining creeks and other affected areas.
- Pay adequate compensation to community people whose environment, fishing gadgets and source of livelihoods have been destroyed by the spill.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Write protest letter to Shell asking them to:

Commence the process of cleaning up the spill
Supply relief materials to the community to cushion the economic effects of the spill
Pay adequate compensation to the local people whose environment and means of livelihood have been destroyed by the spill.
Send copies of your letter to local and international media, environmental groups and your elected representatives.

SHELL’S ADDRESS

Managing Director
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)
Freeman House
21/22 Marina, PMB 2418
Lagos, Nigeria
Tel:23412601600-19
Fax:23412636681
Email: info@spdc.shell.com  and shellcorp-id@spdc.shell.com

For more information contact:

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION/ FRIENDS OF THE EARTH (FoE, Nigeria)
E-mail: oilwatch@infoweb.abs.net

E-mail: disera@infoweb.abs.net
www.eraction.org

From: Beth Burrows beb@igc.org

US AID/ Shell Oil Plans Include Shrimp Farms In Nijer Delta

Note: For months now rumors have been flying that Shell Oil and US AID have gotten together to implement large-scale investment project in Niger Delta vis a big grant to initiate cassava production and shrimp production for the export markets. The following news report culled from the Nigerian Guardian newspaper on Feb. 27, 2004 seems now to bear out the truth in this earlier rumor.

The following news story may well point to the beginning of the planned move for the Shell/ US AID promotion of introduction of indusrial shrimp farming in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

THE GUARDIAN
CONSCIENCE, NURTURED BY TRUTH
LAGOS, NIGERIA. Friday, February 27 2004

news

Shell, others okay N1.5b cassava scheme

From Chido Okafor, Warri
AMAJOR deal to boost cassava production in 11 states in the country was on Wednesday signed by Shell Petroleum Development Company, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Institute of Tropical

Agriculture (IITA) in Delta State.

Under the scheme, a N1.518 billion ($11 million) Cassava Development Project (CEDP) will be implemented over five years and will target 300,000 farm households. It will provide farmers with access to disease-resistant varieties, develop marketing outlets for cassava

products and establish cassava processing enterprises at the community level.

A five-year $20 million memorandum of

Understanding (MOU) to share their common goals apart from the joint cassava project, was on Wednesday signed by the three partners at the opening

of a three-day stakeholders’ workshop

in Effurun, Delta State. Representatives of Shell locations world-wide are attending the workshop.

The cassava enterprise development will concentrate its efforts in 11 states in the South-East and South-South.

The Guardian gathered that the partnership would help address developmental challenges in the Niger Delta.

Mission Director of USAID/Nigeria, Mr. Dawn Liberi, said: “As we know then, the primary source of revenue for the government of Nigeria is from oil exploration and production in the Niger Delta region. However, this region is one of the most under-developed areas in Nigeria and continues to experience serious conflicts”.

The USAID/Nigeria recently

approved a five-year strategy (2004-2009) where $350 million dollars had been earmarked to improve democratic governance, the economy, social sector services and reduce the impact of the dreaded Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AID).

The IITA was founded in 1967 with a mandate to improve food production in the humid tropics and to develop sustainable production systems.

(c) 2003 – 2004 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Right Reserved).
Powered by dnetsystems.ne t dnet�

From: Niger Delta

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Village head, 4 others, arrested for triple murder

The NATION Published on Feb 15, 2004

A village headman in Samut Sakhon and four workers on his prawn farm have been arrested over allegations that they murdered three Phetchaburi livestock farmers who disappeared in December, police said yesterday.

Two of the men confessed that the three victims were shot execution-style and that their bodies cremated one at a time in a 200-litre oil drum.

The five murder suspects are Chaiwat Rodtassana, the village headman, and four residents of Phetchaburi – Amornthep Lerdbangplad, Alak Makban, Sompop Meekaew and Anuphan Nuchapong.

The victims – Saroj Sangnimit, Amnuaychai Pengnuam and Sompoj Phuraya – were livestock farmers in Ban Laem district.

They were last seen on December 11 gathering hay to feed their cattle near Chaiwat’s prawn farm.

After investigators intensified their interrogation of the farm workers, Anuphan confessed, which led to the arrest of Chaiwat and the other suspects, Warawut said.

Anuphan, whose confession was corroborated by Sompop, said the triple homicide was sparked by an argument between the victims and Amornthep’s wife, Sukritta Lerdbangplad.

Sukritta and the three argued after they entered the prawn farm to gather hay for their livestock. They told her that they had permission from Chaiwat to enter his property, then made disparaging remarks about her, Anuphan said.

Sukritta called Chaiwat to report the insulting trespassers and he and Amornthep arrived back at the farm in a rage, Anuphan told police.

The two summoned Sompop, Alak and Anuphan to help them subdue the three men. After the three victims were tied up, Chaiwat allegedly shot each one in the head. The five suspects then allegedly burnt the bodies and dispersed the ashes over the prawn farm.

Bangkok Post March 3, 2004
Potential duties spur heavy exports to US
Charges may take effect on Friday

Phusadee Arunmas

Thai shrimp exports to the United States have surged as exporters step up shipments before March 5, the date when anti-dumping duties could potentially come into effect if the US government rules that punitive tariffs must be charged.

Exports of both frozen and processed shrimp in January and February were four times higher than in the same period last year. Shipments totalled 15,700 tonnes in January 2003 and 14,983 tonnes in February.

According to Panisuan Jamnarnweij, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, US importers have been placing heavy orders since the start of the year, though the period traditionally is considered the trade’s low season.

He said importers were rushing to get shipments into the US before March 5, the day when shrimp imports may become subject to the new duty charge.

Mr Panisuan said that although the US Department of Commerce (USDC) was not scheduled to rule until June 8 on whether shrimp from six countries including Thailand have been unfairly dumped, the punitive tariff charges would likely be backdated 90 days.

Last month, the US International Trade Commission ruled 6:0 in favour of a petition by US shrimp raisers to investigate whether imports from Thailand, China, Brazil, Ecuador, Vietnam and India were being sold in the US at below home-market prices, making them liable for anti-dumping duties.

Mr Panisuan said the USDC was investigating four Thai producers and exporters _ Thailand Fishery, Thai Ekkamai, Chanthaburi Seafood and Union Frozen Plc _ over their pricing policies and production costs as part of the trade complaint process before a decision is made in June.

Mr Panisuan has called on the Thai government to take action to help shrimp producers avoid the crippling duty. “Once it is imposed, the anti-dumping duty will be effective for five years with an annual review,” he said.

He said that even a 5% extra duty would jeopardise one-third of the country’s 120 processing plants and could force them out of business. “A 10% duty would have consequences for half of all producers.”

According to a source at the Thai Frozen Foods Association, Thai shrimp could face duties of 5-10%, causing at least 20 billion baht in damages to the economy as the impact would be felt by exporters as well as related industries and more than 30,000 farm households.

The US is the largest market for Thai shrimp, accounting for half of last year’s 220,000-tonne export total.

Indonesia

W R M B U L L E T I N 79 February 2004

Large Scale Shrimp Farming and Impacts on Women

Inland aquaculture has been practiced in Asian countries, namely in Indonesia, China, India and Thailand for hundreds of years. Shrimps were traditionally cultivated in paddy fields or in ponds combined with fishes, without significantly altering the mangrove forest, which for centuries has been used communally by local people providing them a number of products such as commercial fish, shrimp, game, timber, honey, fuel and medicine.

Women have played a key role in taking the advantage of mangrove resources. In Papua Island, indigenous knowledge regulates woman’s role in mangrove forest.

Recent increase in market demand have pressed for a change into intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farming, with much less respect to local ecosystems and people. Multinational corporations, coupled with the support of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, have expanded intensive shrimp aquaculture in Asia, taking all the access and blocking traditional users’ access to coastal resources. This has meant loss of food, health, income and social and cultural welfare for them.

Shrimp cultivation is the most high-risk process in the shrimp industry, especially after virus attacks that began in 1993 and continue until today. In spite of that, small farmers were encouraged by the government and influenced by the industry to continue investing in this activity. Most of the small farmers became indebted and did not continue the business anymore. The current shrimp owner is mostly the local businessman who bought the ponds from several small indebted farmers.

This modern and large-scale shrimp farming creates major socio-economic problems to the local people, including land conflicts, exploitation of the poor by large corporations, and changes in social structures of local communities. Although coastal communities may in fact have used and cared for the land over a long period, they do not posses formal landownership documents. So, most resistance against shrimp industry has been related to land taking by government and corporations.

Farmer families who lose the land will leave to the cities for low-skill jobs. Woman and children are the most fragile group related to changing in social structures, and in some cases may end up in prostitution. Employment opportunities of shrimp processing factories for the local people are often limited to unskilled and low-paid jobs, such as watchman and harvester. Only few jobs are available to local women, who can be employed as cleaning service and other low skill and part time works.

The current trend in Indonesia is that the traditional farmers are directed to join as satellite farmers in a Nucleus Estate Smallholders Scheme (NESS). Large scale NEES is usually supported by government and provided with high technology. The NESS system is also very biased against women. In large-scale shrimp farming only adult and educated men can hope to get a job. In case of death or inability to work of the smallholder males, women must leave the farming estate, leaving behind all the assets that they had been paying for by credit installment.

The change from traditional to industrial shrimp farming that is rapidly taking place might in the short term benefit the government and the large-scale shrimp investors due to foreign currency generation, but the environmental and social costs associated with the industry by far outstrip the benefits. Local communities are particularly marginalized and exploited and local social structures are threatened by growing tensions and conflicts.

Adapted and excerpted from “Large Scale Shrimp Farming and Impacts on women”, by P. Raja Siregar, Campaigner of WALHI (Friends of The Earth- Indonesia) and Coordinator of Coalition of Anti-Debt Movement. Sent by the author. E-mail: radja@walhi.or.id  . The full document is available.

From: Teresa Perez teresap@wrm.org.uy

Breaking out of the poverty-environmental degradation cycle:
Women and sustainable development in Indonesia

You are a poor widow living in rural Indonesia. You have three children to support and only the most basic of educations. What do you do? If you live in forested area-as much of Indonesia used to be-the answer is simple: you sell wood that you can collect freely. Your children help you, and there is always a need for fuel wood. But what happens when the forest runs out? This is a growing concern in Indonesia, and a focus of the Women’s Union for Equality, an Indonesian NGO that hopes to change patterns such as this one.

Women in Indonesia, as in other developing countries, often lack access to services that could greatly contribute to their quality of life. As the organization notes, violence against women is a continuing problem in Indonesia, as well as persistent social, political, and economic discrimination. They are systematically excluded from decision-making positions: women hold only eight percent of parliamentary seats in Indonesia. Women also suffer from inadequate access to family planning resources. Research has suggested that women in Indonesia comprise the majority of the poor, particularly in the poorest sector of Indonesian society. It is hard to dispute that women are disproportionately affected by poverty.

This is an extensive list of problems to address, especially because in many cases they are interrelated. One of the Women’s Union for Equality (Persatuan Perempuan Sama, or PPS) strategies has been to work towards solutions to problems that emerge in regard to the relationship between women and the environment. Women make up the majority of natural resource managers in Indonesia, and yet paradoxically, they are the ones that tend to have the least access to resources that could aid their management ability. It is in this context that situations such as the one mentioned above arise. How can women escape from cycles of poverty and environmental degradation if they are not aware of their resource management options?

In response to this problem, PPS has begun projects with poor women who harvest mangrove forests in order to make a living. Focusing in one region in the Sulawesi Province, PPS created an initiative in 2003 to help expand women’s choices through training in alternative livelihood practices.

Wangkolabu, the village where the project is taking place, used to be located in an extensive mangrove forest that occupied over 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of land. Today, this area has been reduced to 150 hectares (370 acres) of degraded mangrove forest, mostly due to exploitation for local housing materials and the fuel wood trade. Fishing has traditionally been the staple income provider of this town, but in recent years it has been necessary for people to add on other income generating activities to make ends meet-namely, the sale of fuel wood. However, increases in mangrove harvesting have led to decreases in fish populations, which depend on mangrove habitat, fueling a vicious cycle.

With the help of Global Greengrants funds, PPS was able to develop a program designed to halt, or at least slow, this process. Aimed at helping women maintain income generating projects as well as ecosystem protection and environmental sustainability, PPS conducted a four day participatory workshop in which 20 women-10 of them single parents-learned about the ecological importance of the mangrove and were trained in alternative livelihood practices, enabling them to leave the fuel wood trade. The group identified the central goal of increasing viable fish habitat in the village through mangrove restoration projects, and also included objectives for lowering local consumption of mangrove and establishing a ban on the fuel wood trade. The focus group for this workshop was purposefully comprised of members of Wangkolabu’s most marginalized population, as these are the people that are most likely to contribute to environmental degradation out of economic necessity. It is important to note that Wangkolabu is comprised of 91 families, of which 43 are headed by single women-these women are under intense pressure to provide for their families in a society that devalues women’s work.

This success story is not the only example of proactive, community-based participatory projects that PPS has helped to initiate. In fact, in Kuala Sungai Pinang on Penang Island, a PPS project in 2000 laid the groundwork-literally-for continued ecosystem restoration. This project consisted of the construction of what are known as “empang parit”, or dredged out ditch ponds, which, when paired with extensive mangrove planting, create attractive habitat for various fish species. In cooperation with rural indigenous women’s groups living around degraded mangrove forests, PPS built an empang parit to demonstrate how women can improve both fish habitat and, as a result, their long-term income levels. Over 5,000 mangrove saplings have so far been planted, and women now have the knowledge to continue mangrove restoration projects into the future. Furthermore, as a result of the success of this project, PPS has been granted a substantial amount of funds by the Indonesian government in order to continue the work on Muna Island, where they have identified a target group of over 3,000 indigenous people.

Both of these projects help PPS to achieve its overall goals: the equal participation of women in public policy making, an increased role of women in natural resource management, and the decrease of the “feminization” of poverty. Environmental protection provides a framework that promotes women’s empowerment, as they are the ones that are trained in project development and implementation, restoration methods, and livelihood training. As women increase their leadership ability, with the help of groups such as PPS and Global Greengrants, the cycle of environmental degradation and women’s poverty is well on its way to being broken.
Jessica Sherman, March 2004

From: jessica.sherman@colorado.edu

———-
Vietnam

U.S.-Vietnam Ties Raise Hopes, Hackles
Determined to Increase Trade, Communist Leaders Court Former Enemies
WASHINGTON POST

By Alan Sipress, Washington Post Foreign Service Saturday, March 6, 2004; Page A12

HA TINH, Vietnam — Huu Dinh clambers up the steps to the roof of his one-story office building and points like a general into the distance where his sprawling empire of man-made shrimp ponds melts into themists of central Vietnam’s coastal plain.
“Last year, if you came here, all you’d see is sand,” said Dinh, 48, a
stocky man with a white ball cap pulled down over thinning black hair.
“For a thousand years, nobody touched it. Nobody did anything with it. When I started, people said I’d be facing disaster.”

Dinh’s success has been fueled by the decisive turn in relations
between Vietnam and the United States over the past year, described by officials on both sides as the most significant improvement in relations since they were normalized in 1995. Dinh raised 1,000 tons of shrimp last year, exporting half to the United States, a tenfold increase since a bilateral trade agreement took effect two years ago.

But the new intimacy between the two countries has also created a raft of irritants, most notably an anti-dumping suit filed in the United States against Vietnamese shrimp exporters that threatens to drain the profits from Dinh’s ponds just as he is planning to triple the sizeof his Ha Tinh farm.

During the last year, trade between the two countries has doubled,
reaching about $6 billion annually, according to U.S. and Vietnamese figures. The United States is now Vietnam’s largest export market, with clothing, shoes, furniture and seafood making up the bulk of the goods.

“No one was expecting it would be so dramatic, the change that we’ve had,” said a Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The economic progress in turn has driven closer ties across a spectrum of issues, breaking a logjam in relations….
The Vietnamese have repeatedly discovered that Americans do not always appreciate their gusto in penetrating the U.S. market. Vietnam’s largest export to the United States is textiles. Last year, the Vietnamese government grudgingly agreed to a cap on exports demanded by Washington.

Vietnamese officials were less accommodating when U.S. producers sued Vietnam’s catfish exporters, alleging that they were dumping their fish on the U.S. market at below cost. Vietnam lost that case and the Department of Commerce imposed tariffs on catfish imports of between 36 to 64 percent. The Vietnamese have now appealed to the U.S. Court of International Trade.

Now, a new battle over Vietnamese shrimp exports to the United States valued at $450 million a year has been joined in Washington.

Vietnam’s reaction this time is more practical and less polemical, a measure of how quickly the relationship between the two countries has matured. “It is normal that when you start to have business, you start to have problems,” Dung said. “After the catfish dispute, we learned how to do business.”

Vietnamese officials said they had stepped up efforts to lobby the U.S. administration and strike political alliances in Washington to protect their interests. Vietnamese shrimp producers have also hired a major U.S. corporate law firm, Willkie, Farr and Gallagher, after conducting what one lawyer involved called a “tortuous,” year-long competition among at least seven foreign firms.

“It shows that Vietnam is learning by doing, by integrating into the
world economy,” said Nguyen Hong Duong, deputy director for Europe and America in the Ministry of Trade. “We’re getting familiar with the game and how to play in international trade now.”

Huu Dinh became a shrimp entrepreneur after returning from the United States, where he had lived since he was a teenager.

He developed three shrimp farms in northern Vietnam before turning to the impoverished Ha Tinh province, wedged between the mountains and the sea. He decided to establish the largest shrimp farm in the country here, encouraged by the prospect of exporting to the United States under the reduced tariffs and higher banking standards fostered by the bilateral trade agreement, he said.

On a recent afternoon, Dinh surveyed his domain, taking stock of how he has transformed the landscape. Riding with his chauffeur in a white Lexus, he drove along the earthen wall running beside his ponds, which he had scooped an acre at a time from some of the poorest soil in Vietnam. Dinh also carved a broad, mile-long canal to carry water to the farm and erected a mile of overhead electrical lines to power an oceanfront pump for the pipeline serving his new shrimp hatchery.

Laborers are finishing the complex of low buildings to house the brood stock, flown in from Hawaii, in temperature-controlled tanks. “You can turn sand into something,” Dinh said, his smile widening. “I’m amazing even myself.”

He bridles at the accusation from U.S. shrimpers that Vietnamese are exporting below cost and he vows to fight the case.

“I’d be in deep, deep trouble if I can’t send shrimp to the United
States,” he said. “Who’s going to pay the bank interest for me? Who’s going to pay my employees?”

Dinh is gambling that the United States will continue to offer him
opportunity as it has repeatedly during his life. He has already
developed 1,500 acres of ponds at Ha Tinh and expects to have a total of 5,000 acres shortly. He is close to completing another shrimp farm and working on two more. He aims to produce 7,000 tons of shrimp this year, a sevenfold increase from last year, he said.

“The game plan is on the move,” he said. “It’s impossible to reverse
it.”
From: “Andrianna Natsoulas”
———-

S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Bangladesh says tiger numbers burning bright

By Reuters March 11, 2004
DHAKA � The number of tigers in Bangladesh’s part of the world’s largest mangrove swamp has risen to around 500 from 362 a decade ago, a triumph for environmentalists battling to preserve the endangered big cat.

Shahjahan Siraj, Bangladesh’s Minister for the Environment and Forests, told a news conference that a recent count suggested the royal Bengal tiger may be making a comeback in the Sundarbans after numbers dwindled from 450 in 1982 to around 360 in 1993.

“A primary analysis of the paw prints hints that the number of tigers might be around 500,” he said.

The Sundarbans, which stretches into India’s West bengal state, is about 400 km (250 miles) southwest of Dhaka and is home to a large variety of wildlife. But its chief attraction is the beautiful tiger � the largest big cat in the world.

Siraj said the tiger enumerators had scoured the 6,000-sq-km (2,320-sq-mile) Bangladesh wetland and swamps from Feb. 26 to March 3 and collected 1,546 tiger paw prints or pug marks.

“Plaster of Paris molds of the pug marks will also help ascertain age, weight, and gender of individual animals,” the minister said.

Forest officials said increased surveillance against poaching and lower human interference in the wildlife had helped the tiger population to recover.

Authorities put increased efforts in protection of the Sundarbans after the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation declared the area a World Heritage site in 1997.

India counted the tigers in its 4,000-sq-km (1,545-sq-mile) portion of the Sundarbans in January, but those figures have not yet been released.

The Sundarbans form a fragile ecosystem that is being ravaged by the pressures of population and the weak enforcement of environmental regulations.

About 3 million people live in the portion of the swamps that belong to Bangladesh, and 3.5 million more reside in the Indian portion in the neighbouring state of West Bengal.

URL: ENN

From: Zakir Kibria

Shatkhira Sundarbans Deforestation for Shrimp Culture: Forest official suspended, 11 others transferred
The Daily Star, March 6, 2004

The Sandarbans Station Officer in Kaikhali, Golam Rabbani, has been suspended for negligence in duty following felling of trees on about five acres of forest area by some local influentials allegedly for building a shrimp enclosure.

Eleven other forest officials and staff have been transferred from the station in Shatkhira district.

Divisional Forest Officer (DPO) Badrul Alam Bhuiya took the action on February 29 after a probe, official sources said.

The forest department has filed a case against three persons –Rashedul Gazi, Ebadul Gazi and Moktar Gazi of Bhetkhali in Shyamnagar upazila — for felling the trees for shrimp cultivation.

They took away several hundred Geoa, Kewra and Hetal trees from Compartment No 47 in Kaikhali near Golkhali village in Shyamnagar upazila in January, forest official Kazi Karim said quoting from the probe report.

The probe was done by forest officials Nurul Amin and Kazi Nurul Karim, Karim said.

During a recent visit to the area some local people told this correspondent that some influential groups had been eyeing the Suandarbans for long to grab land for shrimp cultivation.

The Kaikhali Forest Station covers 1,51,351 acres of land. Human habitation has been separated from the Sundarbans by building an embankment.

The trees from the five-acre area were felled within two weeks from the last week of January in connivance with a section of corrupt forest officials, they alleged.

When contacted, Rashidul Gazi and Moktar Guzi said they cut the trees as tigers from bushes there often come to nearby shrimp farms, threatening life of security guards. They said their intention was not to grab the Sundarbans land.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

Sundarbans: Back to the wall, fishermen take to logging

URL: THE DAILY STAR

Sundarbans’ poor farmers and fishermen are increasingly resorting to illegal logging and poaching to survive in the face of a government ban on catching shrimp fry, depleting precious plant and wildlife resources of the world’s largest mangrove forest.

Coupled with a poor aman harvest this season, the ban on shrimp fry has snatched the livelihood of subsistence farmers and fishermen, who constitute around 80 percent of the population living on the fringes of the forest, depending solely on netting fish fry and collecting forest resources.

Last December, the government imposed the ban to protect the fish in the area as harvesting shrimp fry also means a large number of other fish fry end up dead in the fisherman’s net.

According to the Department of Forest, anywhere between 80,000 and 150,000 people of the 17 upazilas around the forest scratch out a living from catching shrimp in a network of 450 canals and rivers in addition to collecting other forest resources.

But with the ban in place, they are unable to pay back dadon or seasonal loan they traditionally take from money lenders during off season every year. Consequently, a rising tide of poor people are resorting to illegal logging and poaching.

“We live from hand to mouth catching fish fry, but the ban has put us out of work. So when our children cry for food, we have no choice but to pick up the axe and head for the forest. We are helpless and you people can not save the forest staying at the capital, unless the government finds an alternative means of livelihood for us,” said Abdul Latif of Joymuni village under Chandpai range.

During a recent field trip to the village, this correspondent found that people there cannot afford rice daily.

“Today I cooked rice and kochu (a sort of arum). But we can’t have rice every day and eat boiled potatoes with salt,” said a jobless Momtaz Begum, who used to eke out a living from netting shrimp. Other poor families of the village have the same story to tell as do the people of neighbouring villages of Sundartala, Banshtala, Chila, Haldibuniya and Kaan Mari.

Even last year, these families harvested 10 to 12 maunds of aman paddy per bigha, but this year per bigha yield was only two to three maunds.

Lutfar Rahman Sana, a money lender of Joymuni, does not know how to get back his money from borrowers — mostly shrimp fry catchers. “I know they do not have any source of income to pay me back,” he said.

“Unless the government can arrange for an alternative source of income for these desperately poor people, it will be impossible to save the forest,” said a forest official requesting anonymity.

At the inauguration ceremony of the recently concluded tiger census at the Sundarbans, Environment and Forest Minister Shajahan Siraj acknowledged the gravity of the situation saying alternative employment opportunities should have been created for local residents over the years after independence. “But the governments have failed to do that,” the minister conceded.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

Eco-huts to be built in Sundarbans

The Daily Star, February 26, 2004.
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday told the Jatiya Sangsad that the government has undertaken a plan to set up eco-huts at various points of the Sundarbans in a bid to attract tourists.

Replying to a question from M Nurul Islam, the PM said the huts would help both foreign and local tourists witness the beauty of the world’s largest mangrove forest.

A bio-diversity protection project was being implemented in the Sundarbans at a cost of about Tk 400 crore to develop tourism, set up eco-huts and save trees, she added.

Khaleda also said there is a plan to spend about Tk 1.3 crore from the non-development budget of the current fiscal for promotion of eco-tourism.

She said the project would also raise government’s revenue earnings and create alternative employment opportunities for the people dependent on the Sundarbans.

She also told the House that tenders had been floated for the project and a policy was adopted to turn existing structures in the Sundarbans into eco-huts.

From: Zakir Kibria

Switzerland to help produce organic shrimps for exports
BSS, Dhaka

URL: THE DAILY STAR

Switzerland yesterday expressed its keen interest in helping Bangladesh to produce organic shrimps at traditional farms to fetch more export earnings from European countries.

“Bangladesh shrimps have big potential in Switzerland and other European countries as demands for such fish are very high there,” Jurg Casserini, charge d’ affaires of the Swiss Embassy in Dhaka, said at a dialogue.

Swiss embassy organised the dialogue with shrimp producers, exporters and policymakers as part of the visit of Markus Stern, an executive of a Swiss business promotion firm. Markus Stern arrived in Dhaka on a four-day visit to help promote Bangladesh exports to Switzerland and other European countries.

Stern said the organic shrimps have 20 percent higher price than that of the traditional shrimps. The price is not an important factor for the European buyers, he said adding that the buyers were more prone to costly but quality foods than that of cheaper ones.

Bangladesh could earn more from the exports of organic shrimps, the fish which is produced without using any inorganic substances like fertiliser and chemicals, said Markus Stern.

“The shrimp we are producing now is almost organic,” Secretary General of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) Mahmudul Hasan claimed in the dialogue. The claim was, however, refuted immediately by the Swiss charge d’ affaires saying that there was no scope of ‘almost’ in case of shrimps which must be ‘fully organic.�

From: Zakir Kibria

OCEANIA
New Caledonia

Note: Please Contact Point Zéro / Base Line For Complete Article.

Following the Money Trail: Unanswered Questions
Mining and Export Credit Finance in Kanaky/New Caledonia

Stephanie Fried, Ph.D.1 and Rick Anex
January, 2004

Background: Biodiversity and Nickel Mining in Kanaky/New Caledonia

Kanaky or New Caledonia, a country under French rule in the Southwestern Pacific, is one of the most unusual biodiversity hotspots on earth. A remnant of ancient Gondwanaland , the main island, La Grand Terre, separated from Australia some 85 million years ago and has existed in isolation from other land masses, surrounded by deep ocean trenches.3 Kanaky contains the largest concentration of nickel laterites in the world (approximately 20% of the known reserves) and contains 75% of the reefs and lagoons under French control.4 Due to the country’s geological history, isolated location and unusual soils which are poor in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous and rich in chromium, magnesium, nickel, iron and cobalt – elements usually toxic to plants – over 75% of the country’s plant species are endemic and are found nowhere else on earth. Some of New Caledonia’s terrestrial ecosystems have rates of endemism as high as 91%.5 Kanaky is home to extraordinary “living fossils” including 18 species of the Winteraceae family of plants which date back 120 million years, to the age of dinosaurs.6

Surrounded by an extraordinary barrier reef – the second largest in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – Kanaky contains one of the world’s largest lagoon systems. The location of Kanaky’s reefs relative to prevailing currents and temperature regimes has allowed them to remain relatively unscathed by recent massive coral bleaching events which have had profound impacts on the reefs of neighboring Australia and throughout the Pacific.7 This little-researched reef and lagoon system – occupying close to 10 million acres (44,000 km2) – is home to a vast number of marine species including many found nowhere else on earth.8

Recently, marine researchers discovered over 2,700 species of marine molluscs at one Kanaky site, alone – several times the number of species than those recorded from any other comparable area in the world.9 This recent discovery and other current analyses of Kanaky marine molluscs is likely to force an upward recalculation of the total number of living species on Earth.10

In January 2002, after pressure by courageous indigenous Kanak leaders and local environmentalists, the French government proposed New Caledonia’s reef ecosystems for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In March, 2002, sixty-two coastal and marine scientific experts convened in Hanoi, Vietnam and concluded that the reefs of New Caledonia were of “Outstanding Universal Value” in terms of their biodiversity attributes, placing these reefs at the top of priority list for World Heritage designation in the Pacific.11 The UNESCO process, however, has since been blocked and the nomination has not progressed. The French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development has stated that France now prefers to “work with international mining companies…to ensure environmental protection” instead of seeking World Heritage status for the reefs.

Given the nickel-rich soils, and a recent “World Nickel Meeting” held in the country, large international mining companies are preparing to initiate massive mining operations on indigenous lands in this fragile island ecosystem. In addition, there are plans for the development of large-scale industrial shrimp aquaculture operations. There are indications that both mining and aquaculture companies are attempting to secure international finance, including ECA support, for their proposed ventures. This paper focuses on the provision of public finance for mining sector. The potential impact of public finance on the aquaculture sector will be examined in a later paper.

Mining and Public Finance

New Caledonia has sometimes been called the “El Dorado of Nickel” by the international mining community. However, international nickel prices have not been stable and civil unrest appears to be on the increase locally. Under conditions of clear political and commercial risk, it is likely that transnational mining companies and their investment partners are seeking methods of shifting the risk burden to the public sector, especially through the utilization of various forms of public finance and political risk insurance from ECAs in their countries of origin…..

 

  1. Environmental Defense, P.O. Box 520, Waimanalo, Hawai’i, 96734 U.S.A. stephf@environmentaldefense.org
  2. “Point Zéro / Base Line “, courriel : pointzero@canl.nc , Nouméa, New Caledonia. Rick Anex, courriel : dakuwaqa@lagoon.nc
  3. Identified by scientists as one of the world’s top ten biodiversity “hotspots” in Meyers, N , cited in “Radiatoin of crenobiontic gastropods on an ancient continental island: the Hemistomia-clade in New Caledonia”, M. Haase and P. Bouchet, Hydrobiologia 367: 43 – 129. 1998
  4. French Embassy, In Depth Review: Region: New Caledonia. New Caledonia was an Overseas Territory of France until May 1998. After the signing of the Noumea Accord in 1999, New Caledonia became a “French Overseas Country”. www.info-france-usa.org
  5. Jaffre, T, P. Bouchet, J-M Veillon, “Threatened plants of New Caledonia: Is the system of protected areas adequate?”, in Biodiversity and Conservation, 7, 109-135 (1998).
  6. Lowry, P. “Diversity, Endemism, and Extinction in the Flora and vegetation of New Caledonia,” Missouri Botannical Garden, 1996.
  7. Lough, J. “Analyses of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in vicinity of New Caledonia (1-degree latitude x 1-degree longitude box centred on 20.5oS, 164.5oE) using data from UK Hadley Centre (1871-1999) and IGOSS-NMC (2000-2002).” Australian Institute of Marine Science, January, 2003.
  8. According to an IFRECOR (French Coral Reef Initiative) report on the state of the environment in New Caledonia, the rich marine biodiversity of New Caledonia’s reef systems has “scarcely been studied by biologists.” IFRECOR cites an ORSTOM report indicating potentially 15,000 marine species, but concludes, given that “many areas have never been explored…it is likely that biodiversity is even higher.” IFRECOR, “State of the Environment in New Caledonia”. www.environnement.gouv.fr/ifrecor .
  9. Bouchet, P, P. Lozouet, P. Maestrati, V. Heros, “Assessing the magnitude of species richness in tropical marine environments: exceptionally high numbers of molluscs at a New Caledonia site”, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 75, 421-436.
  10. ibid
  11. “World Heritage Marine Biodiversity Workshop: Filling Critical Gaps and Promoting Multi-Site Approaches to New Nominations of Tropical Coastal, Marine and Small Island Ecosystems,” Hanoi, Vietnam: 25 February to 1 March, 2002. “Hanoi Report”, June 17, 2002, Draft version.

From Point Zéro / Base Line pointzero@canl.nc

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Brazil’s Shrimp Caught Up in a Trade War

By LARRY ROHTER , March 10, 2004

ITAPISSUMA, Brazil – The shrimp farms that have sprung up all along the coast here are one of Brazil’s great success stories, cited by
government officials as an example of the country’s ability to compete on world markets. From 1998 to 2003, Brazil’s shrimp exports jumped from a mere 400 tons to more than 58,000 (tons), with a third of that going to the United States.

During the boom, few companies have prospered more than Netuno S.A., which grows shrimp in 64 ponds at an 1,850-acre farm here and also buys from scores of other producers throughout the region. Founded 15 years ago as a modest market selling fish and lobster to local customers and hotels, Netuno is now Brazil’s largest single exporter of shrimp to the United States.

“Like everyone else in Brazil, we started off late in this business,
without a formula for exporting,” said Hugo Campos, the industrial
production director. “The idea was to grow as much as we could, and the boom in world demand for shrimp has been our path to success.”

Now, though, producers here are facing a serious new challenge in their biggest market. On Dec. 31, the Southern Shrimp Alliance filed a dumping complaint against Brazil and five other countries, seeking to impose tariffs of up to 300 percent, and last month the Commerce Department ruled that there were grounds to proceed because there were indications of a “danger of injury” to American producers.

“We’re really getting killed over here,” Eddie Gordon, president of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a telephone interview from Mount Pleasant, S.C. “Prices are so low that our boat owners can’t even afford to go out shrimping, and that’s because the product is being sold against what all our trade agreements are.”

Brazilian shrimp growers deny that they have engaged in unfair trade practices, arguing that they are merely benefiting from a natural competitive advantage. They point to significantly lower labor costs, the availability of cheap land and, above all, a benevolent tropical climate that allows them not only higher productivity per acre, but three harvests a year.

Politically, the dispute could hardly be more inconveniently timed.
Though Brazil and the United States are the leaders of the talks aimed at establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas by the end of this year, the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has expressed doubts about the desirability of such an accord, sometimes in piquant terms.

Specifically, Brazil fears that the United States is trying to impose a
free trade accord that will not remove the subsidies and other barriers that have limited Latin America’s exports of agricultural products to the United States. Until the Bush administration yields on that point, the Brazilians and their allies argue, there is no point talking about fully opening markets here to more American
goods and services.

In that atmosphere of suspicion, the shrimp case is seen here as
politically motivated and abusive. As Brazilian government officials and news reports have repeatedly pointed out, the Southern Shrimp Alliance represents shrimpers in eight states, including Florida and Texas, and this is an election year.

Producers here and in the other five mostly Asian countries named in the complaint are supported by the American Seafood Distributors Association. That group, which represents supermarkets, processors, restaurants and hotels, says it is American shrimpers who are engaging in unfair trade practices.

“A continued supply of imported shrimp is critical to consumers and
seafood companies because it cannot be replaced by increased domestic production,” the group argues in a recent document. “Current efforts to restrict trade in these circumstances constitute pure protectionism.”

The dumping complaint does not contend that Brazil is selling shrimp on the American market below the cost of production, the most common definition of dumping. Rather, it contends that Brazil is price gouging by selling its product below “fair market value,” an assertion that shrimp farmers here dismiss as not reflecting market realities.

“The producer in Brazil doesn’t dictate the price of the product, which is set by a company in the United States,” said Itamar Rocha, president of the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Growers. “We’re completely at the mercy of the middleman, who is already forcing us to sacrifice on prices, and yet they still concoct this case against us.”

An even more fundamental difference, however, has to do with the
economic differences between farmed and sea-caught shrimp. Most shrimp produced in the United States comes from trawlers plying the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, while almost all production here, as in Asia, is done on farms.

“It’s like trying to compare vinyl discs and CD’s,” said Luiz Claudio
Duarte, a lawyer with the firm of Cameron & Hornbostel who is
representing Brazilian shrimp farmers in the dispute. “Raising shrimp in captivity is not the same as going out to sea to capture them, and so this complaint is totally absurd.”

Shrimp producers here argue that there is simply no way for American shrimpers operating from trawlers to compete against more efficient farms. Production in the United States has stalled over the last decade, they maintain, because of the vagaries of weather, overfishing, high costs and a reluctance to embrace aquaculture.

“We saw the writing on the wall,” said Mark Kleinberg, an American who formerly had a shrimp fleet in Brownsville, Tex., and has shifted
operations to northeast Brazil. “Shrimp boats cannot compete because insurance premiums and the cost of diesel fuel, repairs and maintenance are so high, and if you try to keep that around, you’re just dragging out the misery.”

But American shrimpers dispute that claim. “All we are doing is
harvesting, which is cheaper than trying to raise shrimp yourself,” Mr. Gordon said. “It’s much harder and requires a lot more effort and cost to raise shrimp larvae and build a pond for them than to just go out to harvest them at sea.”

NY TIMES

From: “Andrianna Natsoulas”

Honduras

The “MALINCHES” MINISTERS

(Jorge Varela M�rquez, February 25, 2004)

Meditating on an Editorial of the journalist Mairena Tercero about a famous indigenous woman “Malinche” that offered herself to be at service of the Spanish in order to make easy the conquest of her country fellows in Mexico, we contribute with what we think is other case of “malinchismo” precisely in these moments when a Spaniard, assisted by ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS, is destroying the Protected Area and part of the RAMSAR SITE 1000th, “Laguna de la Berberia” in the Gulf of Fonseca.

At this precise moment, February 24 of 2004, the Spanish Antonio Cano, in charge of the shrimp company El Faro, is destroying what is left of the Protected Area La Berberia, and he continues turning it into a shrimp farm, with the complicity of the “environmentalal” bureaucracy of the present Government.

Well what happens is that this lagoon went along thousands of hectares of coastal wetlands, constituted by salt flats and mangroves, that in the rainy season particularly, was the refuge of an ample biological diversity of coastal marine species among them: fish, crustaceans, mollusks, mammals, reptiles, native and migratory birds, etc., which gave food, income and recreation to thousands of peasants that went there to fish and hunt in such productive ecosystems.

When the shrimp industry establishes itself without any order or control in Honduras, citizens of different origins get there to build shrimp farms in the zone of “La Berberia” and other nearby lagoons, reducing it considerably. Transfers of concessions of State lands would be worthy of investigation on the part of the Office against the corruption· it will work, for example in the following case:

In 1989 the Ex-Minister of Environment, Elvin Ernesto Santos, gets 2000 Has as concession in the heart of “La Berberia”, having a two year-old term to begin the construction of a shrimp farms, activity that never starts because fishermen impede it.

On July 10 of 1999, “La Berberia” is designed part of the RAMSAR SITE 1000th and on January 20 of 2000 it is declared Protected Areas by the National Congress and it passed also to be part of the “Mesoamerican Biological Corridor

With this it is supposed that what is left of “La Berberia” was saved.

But in 2001, the EX-MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, ELVIN ERNESO SANTOS, gave, (or sold?) to the shrimp company, El Faro, which is commanded by the Spaniard Antonio Cano, the concession on “La Berberia”.

In 2002 the EX-MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT XIOMARA GOMEZ, a few days before leaving her position, gave the Environmental License on the Protected Area “La Berberia” to the shrimp farm El Faro, knowing that this area is protected since two years before by an international commitment and a Decree of the National Congress. (Ignorance or corruption?)

On April 1 of 2002, CODDEFFAGOLF presented a revision appeal before the MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, PATRICIA PANTING, against the Environmental License given to El Faro.

At the beginning of 2003, taking advantage of the dry season and the lack of resolve on the part of Minister Panting, El Faro began to destroy a large part of La Berberia in order to expand its shrimp farms. Fishermen protested, and three times they expelled the bulldozers that would destroy their lagoon. The current Mayor of El Triunfo, Santos Pineda, and the governor of Choluteca, Fausto Cabrera (who himself is also an employee of El Faro) defend the company at all cost· (malinchismo· corruption· or?…) the Spaniard, Antonio Cano, accused several fishermen and also Jorge Varela, Executive Director of CODDEFFAGOLF, before the Public Ministry for “damages, usurpation and threats”. In this case, the District Attorney’s Office with the assistance of the Police immediately came to the service of the requirements of the Spaniard, Antonio Cano. The destruction culminated unpunished, and in 2004 the company has already exported shrimp.

Since 2003, the MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, PATRICIA PANTING, has allowed the destruction of the Protected Area, La Berberia. El Faro converts it into a shrimp farms, without resolving the ussues raised by the fishermen interposed through CODDEFFAGOLF.

In February of 2004, protected by the accomplice silence of the MINISTER PANTING and all the environmental bureaucracy, El Faro continues enlarging implacably.

While the poor people of Honduras are deprived of their vital basic resources, the “Political Malinches” in high and low positions of the State Ministries and then out of them, are proud because with their betrayal exports get higher and higher, and they pay no attention to the poor people that are getting poorer· poorer and poorer· and in the case of the “Environmental Malinches”, they ignore the environmental damage that the nation, and actually all of humanity are receiving.

(*) Corrupt
(**) Corruption

From Jorge Varela, (CODDEFFAGOLF)
cgolf@sdnhon.org.hn

NORTH AMERICA
USA

So Much Shrimp
Sure, it’s abundant. But it’s hard for a consumer to know where it’s
from, how it’s raised and if it’s safe.

By Walter Nicholls
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 25, 2004; Page F01

What has American shrimp fishermen so steamed?

For the second year in a row, shrimp has beaten out tuna as the
country’s favorite seafood, according to the National Fisheries
Institute. Shrimp is abundant and popular everywhere from suburban chain restaurants to Embassy Row.

At Red Lobster’s 649 restaurants in the United States and Canada
customers are offered a meal of what the restaurant calls “endless”
fried and broiled shrimp for $13.99.

On the Washington party circuit “people chase the waiters around the room for shrimp,” says Eric Michael, co-owner of Occasions Caterers on
Capitol Hill.

Still, shrimp fishermen from the Carolinas to Texas say it’s not their
shrimp, for the most part, that people are peeling or chasing.

The total value of the U.S. shrimp harvest plunged more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2002, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). American shrimpers say since 2000 the wholesale price for domestic, wild-harvested (as opposed to farm-raised) medium shrimp has dropped from an average of $6 per pound to a current $3.80.

“Hundreds of boats are tied up and banks are repossessing boats.
Shrimpers can’t make ends meet,” says John Williams, a shrimp fisherman for 37 years in Tarpon Springs, Fla., in a telephone interview. Recently, Williams and some of his fellow fishermen decided that enough was enough.

The culprit? Shrimp fishermen cannot compete with bargain-priced,
farm-raised shrimp imported to the United States from more than 50
countries, a supply that now represents 88 percent of the U.S. market. The remaining 12 percent is domestic, whether wild or farm-raised, according to the NMFS.

On the last day of December, the Southern Shrimp Alliance, an
organization of shrimp fishermen and shrimp processors from eight
southeastern states, filed formal complaints with the Department of
Commerce. In these documents they allege that some of the world’s
largest producers of farm-raised shrimp — Brazil, China, Ecuador,
India, Thailand and Vietnam — are selling shrimp in the United States at a lower price than they sell it in their home market, a practice known as dumping, which U.S. shrimpers say increases the import’s market share at an unfair advantage and breaches practices of fair trade.

Last week the International Trade Commission (ITC), an independent federal agency that provides expertise on the impact of imports on U.S. industries, agreed in a 6-0 vote that the U.S. shrimp industry has been injured by increased imports from the six countries. The commerce department will now proceed with an investigation, which may take one year to complete. Tariffs, if any, will be imposed at the outcome by the U.S. Customs Service.

Shrimpers say they know why ever-increasing levels of foreign shrimp are entering the United States at lower prices.

“First of all, these countries have overstimulated their production
over a number of years. On top of that, the European Union has imposed tariffs up to 20 percent. Demand from Japan has declined. Then there are the health issues,” says Deborah Regan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. shrimpers’ group. “EU countries have had higher quality standards for testing for banned chemicals that show up in farm-raised shrimp. And what happens? The U.S. becomes a dumping ground.”

Last year the ITC ruled that Vietnam illegally dumped catfish on the
U.S. market, and the United States subsequently imposed tariffs ranging from 37 percent to 64 percent on the country’s frozen fillets.

The Vietnamese are denying accusations involving their shrimp exports.

“We are definitely not dumping shrimp,” says Minh Vu, head counsel of the economic section of the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington. “Our products are lower priced because of our advanced technology, lower labor costs and our natural resources.”
Click here!

American shrimp farmers stand behind the U.S. shrimp fishermen. “We’re very supportive. We’re U.S. shrimp producers too,” says Fritz Jaenike, general manager of the Texas-based Harlingen Shrimp Farms, the largest producer of shrimp in the United States.

Intensive shrimp farming is a relatively young industry. Large-scale
shrimp aquaculture began in the early 1970s in Asian countries,
particularly in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and has been
evolving.

Early, primitive farms were situated in cleared and dammed mangrove swamps in coastal areas. Water pollution went unchecked as farm waste in the form of chemical fertilizers used to promote the growth of algae (which is used as shrimp food) was flushed into a nearby coastal sea or iver system. Health standards for the shrimp were poor, and diseases spread quickly. Environmental groups voiced widespread criticism of
shrimp farm practices.

But decades of technological advances have made shrimp aquaculture farms, constructed of multi-acre concrete ponds with sophisticated water exchange systems, more competitive and, in some cases, more environmentally friendly, though environmental groups continue to be concerned about their impact. Disease-resistant species of shrimp are more common, especially the white-shaded variety litopenaeus vannamei, commonly referred to as the vanna white.

If the U.S. Customs does impose tariffs on select countries it is
unclear what effect tariffs will have on retail prices. In a recent
spot-check at Whole Foods Market, 26-30 count, previously frozen,
farm-raised shrimp were selling for $9.99 per pound. The same size of fresh, wild shrimp from Georgia was $12.99. At Jessie Taylor Seafood on Maine Avenue in Southwest Washington, previously frozen, domestic, wild-harvested shrimp and imported farm-raised shrimp ranged in price from what the market called “super saver” shrimp at $8.45 per pound to “super giant” at $18.95 per pound.

Southern Shrimp Alliance members say the wholesale value of shrimp has dropped to the lowest level in 40 years. Consumers have seen a modest dip in prices. “Prices have definitely gone down — I’d say $1.50 to $2 a pound at retail in the last two years,” says Leif Klassen, owner of
Swedish Fish, a wholesaler in Arlington.

But are these farmed shrimp safe to eat? There are similarities in the way farmed shrimp and farmed salmon are raised.

David O. Carpenter is director of the Institute for Health and the
Environment at New York’s State University at Albany (SUNY) and chief author of the two-year study published in January in the journal Science that concluded that farm-raised salmon contains significantly higher concentrations of PCBs, dioxin and other cancer-causing contaminants and should be eaten infrequently.

“I would say [farmed] shrimp are probably not contaminated if they are fed a primarily grain diet. But people need to know how the shrimp are fed,” says Carpenter. “Our results suggest that salmon is the worst of foods, but the real problem is recycled animal fats in what we eat. People have to be made aware of it and the consequences.”

Feed formulas vary from farm to farm but basically are composed of a combination of soybean meal, cornmeal and sometimes squid meal and, unfortunately, fish oils.

“The problem is with added oils in the feeds. And with salmon, there
tends to be more oils in the feed. Contaminants go to the fat,” says Jim McVey, program director of aquaculture for National Sea Grant, an agency of the Department of Commerce. “All living things have contaminants. But I’m comfortable, as a consumer, saying that the majority of our shrimp are perfectly fine.”

In June 2002 the FDA announced an increase in sampling of imported shrimp to determine the presence of chloramphenicol, a potent antibiotic used to fight serious infections in humans and by some shrimp farmers to control bacterial growth in ponds. “Due to the unpredictable effects of dose on different patient populations, it has not been possible to identify a safe level of human exposure to chloramphenicol,” agency officials wrote in the news release.

Last week, in a revised import alert, the FDA announced that
chloramphenicol was detected last year in some frozen shrimp imports from Brazil, China, Malaysia, Peru, Thailand and Vietnam and went on to say: “The use of the unapproved new animal drugs will have an impact on the safety of aquaculture products for consumers.” No antibiotics are currently approved by the FDA for use with shrimp.

The ongoing trade issues and health concerns have an impact on
consumers. If shoppers choose to buy fresh shrimp from domestic waters they will pay a premium price. If they buy imported, previously frozen shrimp, they often have no way of knowing in which country it was raised or how. In addition, there are a confusing number of varieties and sizes. Overall, there are no guarantees.

“A lot of people lie when they say it’s fresh and never been frozen.
But most of the time, you get what you pay for,” says Klassen of Swedish Fish. He is not a fan of the “tiger” variety of shrimp, which he calls “lousy.” “They are not comparable to good shrimp,” he says. Fresh or frozen, he prefers a white shell shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. “That’s a good shrimp with lots of flavor.”

Jeff Grolig, owner of River Falls Seafood in Potomac, says consumers
should ask to touch and smell shrimp before they buy it.

“What you want is a hard shell. That will ensure that the meat won’t shrink up when it’s boiled or steamed,” he says. The shell should be shiny and bright and free of black spots, which signal decay. There should be no odor other than the slight smell of the sea.

Grolig has his own favorite varieties: gray-colored shrimp from North
Carolina, pink shrimp from Key West and brown shelled shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. If you can find them, he says, “Man, you’ll be
overwhelmed by the texture and taste.”

WASHINGTON POST

STORIES/ISSUES
Corals, Seagrass and Mangroves, Essential Ingrdients

3/9/04
CONTACT: Dawn Levy, News Service: (650) 725-1944, dawnlevy@stanford.edu

COMMENT: Fiorenza Micheli, Hopkins Marine Station: (831) 655-6250, micheli@stanford.edu

Stephen Palumbi, Hopkins Marine Station: (831) 655-6210, spalumbi@stanford.edu

EDITORS: This release was written by Joy Ku, a postdoctoral researcher in the Pediatric Cardiology and Mechanical Engineering departments at Stanford.

Relevant Web URLs:

Fiorenza Micheli’s home page.

Stephen Palumbi’s home page:
Saving Nemo: New insights into coral reef ecosystems provide guidelines for marine policies in the Bahamas

The Bahamas conjures up images of intense blue waters and sun-drenched beaches for most of us. But it means much more than that for Stanford marine scientists Stephen Palumbi and Fiorenza Micheli and visiting scholar James Sanchirico from Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. These researchers are key participants in a project called the Bahamas Biocomplexity Project (BBP). This collaborative study aims to provide a multidisciplinary view of the Bahamas ecosystem for use in designing marine policies for the region.

“This is the first time a group of people has gone in and simultaneously studied the physical side of the system, the connectivity side, the ecological and habitat side and the socioeconomic side all together,” says Palumbi, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station. Researchers hope that policies based upon this systems perspective will produce more viable and sustainable marine environments.

The three scientists provided a progress report on the project during a talk sponsored by the Stanford Institute for International Studies on Feb. 26 titled “Coupled Natural and Human Dynamics in Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Bahamas.”

The BBP is a five-year project funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and headed by Dan Brumbaugh of the American Museum of Natural History. Participating researchers come from disciplines as varied as anthropology, biology, physics, economics and applied mathematics.

The focus of the BBP is on marine reserve networks. These are collections of many small marine protected areas, or MPAs – regions that are entirely closed off to fishing and exploitation. The BBP researchers think marine reserve networks may be preferable to one large marine reserve.

Micheli, an assistant professor at Hopkins Marine Station, remarks that these marine reserve networks are important because they spread risks. In a reserve network, a hurricane or other disaster, natural or man-made, could ruin one MPA without causing the entire system to stop functioning.

Palumbi’s research on the staghorn coral population in the Caribbean supports this idea of a marine reserve network. He generated a family tree of the DNA sequences for each staghorn coral population. By comparing these DNA family trees, Palumbi concluded that most populations of staghorn corals through the Caribbean are genetically distinct. This implies that staghorn coral do not easily propagate from one region to another.

In the Bahamas alone, Palumbi has identified at least four genetically distinct regions based on coral data. “The replenishment of corals in the Bahamas is going to have to be a fairly local thing,” he concludes. “One can’t imagine that coral in San Salvador are going to be rescued by larval production elsewhere in this archipelago.”

His colleagues, project leader Brumbaugh and biodiversity specialist Kate Holmes of the American Museum of Natural History, are also beginning to see similar regional distinctions based on DNA family trees for lobsters in the Bahamas. What emerges from both the coral and the lobster studies is the suggestion of an east-west division of the Bahamas. The coral and lobsters on the east side of the islands are genetically different from those on the west side. Palumbi excitedly notes that this pattern correlates with oceanography data describing how particles travel in the Caribbean.

While Palumbi’s work provides guidelines about how big the reserve network should be, Micheli focuses on what to preserve. According to Sanchirico, a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy, more than 60 percent of the coral reefs are estimated to disappear over the next 30 years.

“[The coral reefs] are sort of the quarterback of habitats,” says Sanchirico. But other habitats are necessary for the Bahamas ecosystem to function. It’s not enough to protect just the coral reefs, Sanchirico says. There needs to be what he calls “a portfolio of habitat types.” Biologist Micheli and other BBP team members have identified at least three essential habitat types in the Bahamas – coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves.

BBP colleague Peter Mumby of the University of Exeter published a study in the Feb. 5 issue of Nature suggesting that these three habitats need to be located near one another to maintain biodiversity and sustain populations important for fisheries in the region. The study specifically looked at striped parrotfish, bluestriped grunt, yellowtail and snappers. These fish all live in the Caribbean reefs as adults, and all of them increased in size and/or abundance if mangrove habitats were nearby.

The results suggest mangroves may be an intermediate habitat that allows juvenile fish more time to grow before they move to their more dangerous adult habitat, the coral reef. Mangrove deforestation will have “significant deleterious consequences for the functioning, fisheries, biodiversity and resilience of Caribbean coral reefs,” Mumby says.

Micheli also worked with the BBP team to map out the marine habitats in the region. By combining satellite imagery with direct observations, the team was able to identify approximately 19 different habitat categories. Habitat maps like these will be valuable when selecting the sites for the MPAs.

The BBP is also investigating the socioeconomic impact of marine reserve networks. Will closing an area force fishermen into another trade? Or will they just begin fishing in another area? The research of Sanchirico and his social science colleagues in the BBP addresses these questions. The answers are critical in determining when and where a marine reserve will improve the biological “health” of the ecosystem at the lowest cost to users of that marine environment, Sanchirico says.

And how does the BBP’s work impact the design of marine policies in other regions of the world? Palumbi describes a few similarities between ecosystems in the Bahamas and other locations. But he emphasizes that it is the methodology, the BBP’s multidisciplinary approach, that will be most helpful in designing marine policies in other regions.

Joy Ku is a postdoctoral researcher in the Pediatric Cardiology and Mechanical Engineering departments at Stanford University.

From
ANNOUNCEMENTS
The following publication and all associated annexes can now be accessed at the link provided.

Lewis, R.R. III, M.J. Phillips, B. Clough and D.J.Macintosh. 2003. Thematic Review on Coastal Wetland Habitats and Shrimp Aquaculture. Report prepared under the World Bank, NACA, WWF and FAO Consortium Program on Shrimp Farming and the Environment. Work in Progress for Public Discussion. Published by the Consortium. 81 pp.

Click here: Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific – Publications

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

Society of Wetland Scientists’ Ramsar Support Grant Program

The Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) is soliciting proposals for their Ramsar Support Grant Program. The grant program was established to advance Ramsar Convention objectives, including the selection, designation, management, and networking of Ramsar sites; and the promotion of Ramsar’s Wise Use guidelines. Two to five projects are funded each year at a level of US $5,000 on a competitive basis as reviewed by an evaluation committee.

Grant guidelines, an application form, and a description of previous grant awards can be found on the SWS web site or you can request these materials from:

Eric Gilman
Society of Wetland Scientists
Ramsar Support Grant Program
E-mail: ericgilman@earthlink.ne t

Applications are due via e-mail on 1 March 2004.

From: “Mike Shanahan”

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
World Conservation Forum, Bangkok, Thailand; 17-25 November 2004

People and Nature – only one world
The World Conservation Forum (18-20 November) is one of the key elements of the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress. It will convene over 3,000 of the world’s leading
specialists and practitioners to address the key challenges in conservation and sustainable development today. The World Conservation Forum will present a more comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date assessment of the state of biodiversity on our planet than ever before.

Through Global Synthesis Workshops and a series of related events and platforms the Forum will explore and demonstrate how cutting edge knowledge can be applied to address the world’s most pressing sustainable development challenges through four broad themes.
Ecosystem Management – Bridging sustainability and productivity
Health, Poverty and Conservation – Responding to the challenge of human well-being
Biodiversity Loss and Species Extinction – Managing risk in a changing world
Markets, Business and the Environment – Strengthening corporate social responsibility, law and policy

The website for the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress was launched
this week ( www.iucn.org/congress ) and will be continually updated as the Congress develops. Please note
that the call for contributions to the Congress has been issued and is attached here — the deadline for contributions to the “Global
Synthesis Workshops” is March 31 and proposals for all other events are due April 15.

There will be a substantial marine component built into the Congress, and I encourage you to start considering your contributions soon!

Contact: Kristin L. Sherwood, Marine Program Officer, Global Marine Program
IUCN – The World Conservation Union

Email: KSherwood@iucnus.org
Web Address:
www.iucn.org/themes/marine/

From Martin Keeley mangrove@candw.ky

“IN DEFENCE OF LAND AND LIVELIHOOD”

Faris Ahmed about six years ago wrote a report called “IN DEFENCE OF LAND AND LIVELIHOOD” which was co-published by CUSO,
Sierra Club of Canada and the Consumer’s Association of Penang. The report told the stories of communities in Asia impacted by the shrimp aquaculture industry. Hard copies of this report are now hard to find but it lives on in cyberspace and you can download a PDF file version.

Please go to the Inter Pares website and look under Publications and then Archives. Or try this link.

From: “Jim Enright”

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Aquaculture is farming, not fishing, report says

VICTORIA (Mar 2, 2004)

Fish farming is farming, not fishing, and Agriculture Canada should be the lead agency overseeing it, says Canada’s commissioner for aquaculture development.

Yves Bastien says the aquaculture industry cannot meet its potential for providing a food source and economic development for smaller coastal communities under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

He also urged Ottawa to devote more money for aquaculture.

The report, released yesterday, incensed environmentalists who accused Bastien of working for the industry on the taxpayer’s dime.

“It outrages me that this is even being proposed,” said Lynn Hunter of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform.

“Taxpayers are being asked to fund the privatization of our oceans. We’re being asked that the oceans be given over to the multinational corporations and we’re supposed to fund it.”

Bastien said in his report the Fisheries Department is consumed with the conservation of wild stocks, and should be.

“The aquaculture industry cannot continue to be treated as a subset of the fishery,” Bastien wrote. “Aquaculture is a farming — not fishing — industry.”

Instead, he said the main responsibility for aquaculture should fall under the Agriculture Department.

Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan rejected that.

“In terms of who should be the lead agency for aquaculture, we’ve done a considerable review of this and had a good look at this question.

“It’s our view that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans should remain the lead agency,” Regan said in Victoria, where he was meeting with British Columbia’s fisheries and agriculture ministers.

Bastien said aquaculture is an agri-food business that has very little in common with wild fisheries, which is a hunting activity.

The report was welcomed by the B.C. Salmon Farmers’ Association. Spokeswoman Mary Ellen Walling said her group wants strong environmental assessment regulations because it believes in the highest environmental standards.

Environmentalists and aboriginals say salmon farms pollute the ocean and are responsible for spreading diseases that threaten wild salmon.

But the provincial government and the industry say salmon farming is a safe, year-round industry.

In January, the U.S. journal Science published an international report that found eating more than a meal of farm-raised Atlantic salmon a month, depending on its country of origin, could slightly increase the risk of getting cancer.

Environmentalists say the net-pen style of salmon farming used primarily in B.C. is nothing more than an open toilet that flushes wastes into the ocean.

From mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

Late Friday News, 132nd Ed., 20 Feb 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 132nd Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus while this editor visited in S. America.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 132nd Edition, 20 February 2004

FEATURE STORY
Spread of Flu Across Asia Laid to Birds That Migrate: A dissenting opinion

MAP WORKS
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

AFRICA
Nigeria
US Bans Importation Of Shrimp Harvested By Nigerian Nets

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
US anti-dumping ruling: Shrimp exports tipped to drop 20-30%
US accepts anti-dumping petition
B450 million budget needed for clean-up
Shrimp farmers’ loss is consumers’ gain
EU team visits local prawn farm
Shrimp ban likely
Drive to bring in visitors turns community around

Vietnam
Shrimp Farmer Caught in a Bitter Battle
Wetlands in Need of Protection

Malaysia
Malaysian Timber Industry Misconduct: Express Shock, Support Boycott

S. ASIA
Bangladesh
Help protect ecosystem of Sundarbans:

India
Hope For Chilika Lake Grows

LATIN AMERICA
Costa Rica
US lifts Costa Rican shrimp embargo

Honduras
DEMAND BEFORE THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Mexico
Mangroves Being Killed For Development

North America
USA
Anti-Dumping Suit Gains Momentum in WA, DC
“Dumped” foreign shrimp hurts locals, says US
Brewing Trade War Over Shrimp Imports

STORIES/ISSUES
New Report by WWF Raises Concerns Over Lost Wetlands
Mangroves Key to Health of Coral Reef Fisheries

ANNOUNCEMENTS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
IUCN Announces Small Grants Program
International Conference on Biogeochemistry of mangrove -estuary ecosystem, modeling and I
RAMSAR SITES Database Now Online

CALL FOR PAPERS
2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration

AQUACULTURE CORNER
FARMED SALMON PCB ISSUE GOES TO COURT
New Report Documents Efforts to Privatize Ocean for Fish Farming
The fish you buy to carry a label this fall;
Provisions of the seafood labeling law:

FEATURE STORY

Spread of Flu Across Asia Laid to Birds That Migrate: A dissenting opinion

Gilberto Cintron, USFWS
Division of International Conservation

Yara Schaeffer-Novelli, Laboratorio Bioma, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is letter which was sent to MAP is written in rebuttal to the NY Times article in relation to migratory birds being possible vectors for the spread of the recent bird flu outbreak in Asia. The authors of this rebuttal think that the WHO statement spotlighting migratory birds as the problem misses an important factor that may be related the root cause of the emergence and spread of the avian flu in Asia.

Although this note is not intended to disregard the migratory bird connection with the current spread of the Asian avian flu as suggested by WHO, here it is suggested that WHO may have missed a far more important
potential factor causing the spread of microbial contaminants within the Asian region; the increasing frequency and severity of large-scale dust storms and long-distance dispersal of dust and entrained dust particles and aerosols by high altitude winds.

For example, Sahelian dust storms disperse masses of dust estimated at 500 million to over 1 billion tons. Asian storms are of similar if not even larger scale. The amount of dust and matter transported and dispersed, and the scale of this dispersal process, greatly exceeds the amount of material that can be transported and dispersed by migratory birds. Effects of this magnitude dwarf any that can be attributed to migratory birds in intensity and geographic scope.

Satellite observations now present an amazing new perspective on how pollutants can become embedded in dust clouds and can be transported long-distances, and dispersed with near-global impacts. It is more likely
that rather than migratory birds, strong winds and dust storms could be acting as a conveyor of disease.

Dust storms play biogeochemical roles in the Earth system, moving materials and delivering nutrients to land and the oceans. Aeolian delivery is now recognized as a key pathway for nutrients essential for plant growth to terrestrial, aquatic and marine systems. It appears that dust storms have
increased in frequency and severity because of widespread deforestation and
desertification (a dust bowl effect). Increasingly pollutants derived from human activities become available for injection and dispersion into the atmosphere by high winds.

Aeolian transport of dust and aerosols has the potential to promote the dispersal of huge quantities of microbial and toxic contaminant inputs from terrestrial sources and promote the emergence of novel infections among
wildlife as well as humans. Habitat degradation and pollutant inputs brought about by human activity can facilitate disease. For example, large scale- poultry farms operations may be ultimate sources of disease because animals are raised under stressful conditions that suppress immunolologic responses. These operations may act as incubators, reservoirs, and sources of evolving viral diseases, which may become dispersed when improperly treated, or untreated waste, is discharged or disposed innadequately and becomes injected into the atmosphere by high winds. Some of the organisms in African dust are indeed pathogenic, according to Dr. Dale Griffin and
colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey Center for Coastal Geology in St.
Petersburg, Fla. They have carried out detailed studies of a number of aerosol samples collected during African dust events in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the summer of 2000 and found a large number of viable
pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses. Some were known human pathogens and others were plant pathogens.

The Asian Dust Plumes of 1998 and 2000
In April 1998 Plumes of dust from storms whipped up in China’s arid north reached as far as Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok. This dust storm event was first reported in China’s capital Beijing on early April 1998..
According to the local media it was the worst in a decade, and affected 100 million people across the country’s north. Dust storms are normally a sign of spring in Asia, when winds from the Siberian plateau; kick up dust from
the Mongolian and Chinese deserts. These events appear to have worsened in recent decades because of increasing deforestation and drought. The 1998 event’s magnitude, which was somewhat unusual in terms of its severity, was reportedly amplified by unusual weather conditions (i.e., El Ni?o or La
Ni?a). As a result, this storm was the most severe in the Northern Hemisphere in at least two decades. It began to form in early April in the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts, then spread rapidly over China, Korea, and
Japan. In Vladivostok, it was reported to have shrouded the city in clouds of sand and yellow rain. In South Korea, airline flights had to be canceled. Within a week dust clouds had been picked up by the Jet stream
and had reached the west coast of North America, moving as far east as the
Canary Islands.

Dust storms originating in Mongolia were detected by satellite again in December 31st 2000 and January 1st 2001. This cloud quickly moved to the east over Korea and Japan where its effects were registered in surface observations.

The 1998 event coincided with large-scale atmospheric observations of the Aerosol Characterization Experiment-Asia (ACE-Asia), so scientists caught it in full swing. Early analysis, presented in the Fall 1998 AGU (American Geophysical Union), meeting in San Francisco suggest that regional droughts
and human impacts exacerbated the storm’s effects. Sediments from a dried lake bed near Beijing, caused by over pumping of water, whipped into the wind and triggered a dense dust cloud while the initial storm was still
raging according to Barry Huebert of the University of Hawaii.

The 1998 Asian dust storm was not a rare event, dust storms of varying severity occur every year. On a global scale billions of tons of earth surface material is transported by the wind each year. Similar events are known to occur in the western Hemisphere. Sahelian dust storms disperse masses of dust estimated at 500 million to over 1 billion tons. As early as 1930 Charles Darwin had noticed the accumulation of fine reddish dust aboard the HMS Beagle while sailing near the Canary Islands. This massive trans-oceanic transport of dust recently has been linked to reef
degradation in the Atlantic. The amount of dust generated globally, in turn, has attracted increasing study because of its possibly far-reaching effects on climate, the planet’s ecosystems, and potential impacts on human
health.

Dust bio-geo-chemically links land, air and sea. Dust storms could be conveyors of disease as well. These observations suggest that WHO’s statement on the role of migratory birds as pathways for the dispersal of
the avian flu should be re-examined or reconsidered. The role of large-scale dust storms, capable o injecting tons of pollutants and microbial particles into the atmosphere should be explored as a possibly more significant primary mechanism for disease propagation.

From: Gil_Cintron@fws.gov , “Yara Schaeffer-Novelli”

MAP WORKS
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

——————–

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net  for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

——————–

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

——————–

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and othercritical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conserve mangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience.

www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of June or July, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

——————–

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
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Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com  . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

from This Day News (Nigeria) today

US Bans Importation Of Shrimp Harvested By Nigerian Nets

The United States has banned the importation of shrimp harvested in Nigeria with commercial fishing technology that may adversely affect endangered sea turtle.

This comes following a determination by the department of State that Nigeria no longer meets the requirements set by law related to the protection of sea turtles in the course of commercial shrimp harvesting.

It also comes on the heels of a presidential directive for homeland security establishing a national policy to defend the agriculture and food system against terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

The import prohibition is however expected to be for a brief period as the Department of State has offered to work closely with the Government of Nigeria to address concerns that led to this determination. In particular,
the Department will make recommendations to Nigeria to assist fisheries and law enforcement officials, and is open to re-assessing efforts made by the Federal Government to enforce their requirements to protect sea turtles in
the course of shrimp harvesting.

From:
ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand

US anti-dumping ruling: Shrimp exports tipped to drop 20-30%

The NATION, Published on Feb 19, 2004

Shrimp exports to the United States are expected to drop by 20-30 per cent after the US International Trade Commission (USITC) imposed anti-dumping duties on shrimp from Thailand and other five exporting countries.

“We expect that the Kingdom,s export volume will drop by 20-30 per cent but it will have a smaller impact on export value because export prices will increase due to lower supply,? Thiraphong Chansiri, secretary-general of Thai Frozen Foods Association, said yesterday.

USITC,s preliminary determination yesterday came as it said it would continue an investigation into whether exporters from Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador, India, China and Vietnam “dumped? frozen and canned warm-water shrimp and prawn in the US market.

A final anti-dumping rate will be determined by the US Department of Commerce and USITC. A preliminary determination by the department is expected by June 8.

“Thai exporters will face export uncertainty for a while because importers are reluctant to import as they are afraid of anti-dumping charges, and the final rate wont be announced till June,? he said.

Dumping duty is charged on goods imported at a price below the home-market or a third country,s price or below the cost of production.

Thiraphong said Thai exporters would have to wait till Friday or early next week for the names of companies targeted to answer questionnaires for the US Commerce Department. Exporters have to send back the questionnaire within 30-45 days.

Thiraphong, however, has the positive view that export prices will rise because shrimp exports from those six countries account for 75-80 per cent of the US,s total imports. Thus, any shortage of supply is likely to increase the price.

Thailand is the biggest shrimp exporter to the US. Volumes reached 120,727 tonnes over the first 11 months last year. Thai exports to other major exporting countries include China (71,909 tonnes), Vietnam (53,136 tonnes), India (41,682 tonnes), and Ecuador (31,273 tonnes) during the first 11 months last year. The US imported a total of 460,409 tonnes in the same period last year.

These countries exported $2.35 billion worth of shrimp to the United States in 2002.

Thiraphong said Thai exports to the US were of higher quality and price. So, if Thailand,s anti-dumping duty is lower than other competitors it should create more business opportunities.

Thiraphong, who is also president of Thai Union Frozen Products Plc, the country,s leading shrimp exporter, said the company,s total shrimp exports account for 4 per cent of its total revenue of US$40-50 million a year.

Thailand,s Commerce Ministry, also said the anti-dumping rate would not be high. The US is planning to send officials to Thailand to meet 12 Thai exporters whose products are under investigation.

Rachane Potjanasuntorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the anti-dumping charge would not hit Thai exports hard. But he noted that Thai shrimp exports to the US dropped 10 per cent after the investigation.

A coalition of shrimp harvesters from eight US states ? Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas ? have asked for duties ranging from 26 per cent to 264 per cent on frozen and canned shrimp from the Asian and Latin American suppliers.

The heart of the US industry,s case is that the foreign suppliers are selling their product at a much-lower price in the United States than in other markets, she said.

“US shrimpers and processors are not able to make ends meet due to the increasing amount of unfair trade,? John Williams, a Florida shrimp fisherman and officer of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a statement.

Deborah Regan, a spokeswoman for the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said: “We don,t concede that it,s necessarily cheaper? to grow shrimp in ponds?, although some US producers have turned to that option. “Overall, the cost of wild harvesting versus farming is very similar.?

Achara Pongvutitham
The Nation, Reuters

E-mail: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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Bangkok Post, Jan.23, 2004

US accepts anti-dumping petition

First step in possible imposition of duties

Reuters and Post reporters

The United States has taken the first step toward a possible imposition of steep anti-dumping duties on more than US$2.3 billion worth of shrimp imported from the world’s six major exporting countries, including Thailand.

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) said on Wednesday that it had accepted a petition from shrimp farmers in eight southern states asking for duties ranging from 25.76% to 263.68% on frozen and canned shrimp shipments from Thailand, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India and Vietnam.

Thailand, the world’s largest shrimp exporter, ships around half, or 120,000 tonnes, of its shrimp exports to the US each year. The shipments to the US are worth around $1 billion.

The case pits the US shrimp industry, which mostly harvests its product from the sea, against farmers in the six countries who raise shrimp at lower cost in ponds.

The DOC’s decision will begin a probe to determine if imports from the six countries are being sold in the US market at less than fair value, as American shrimpers allege.

The department is expected to set preliminary duties in early June to offset any “dumping” it finds. Imports account for about 80% of the US local consumption.

The exporting countries have warned that duties sought by US shrimpers would sharply boost prices for US consumers. They also reject any blame for the US industry’s plight.

“No legal action will change the fact that farm-raised shrimp from exporting countries is more cost-effective than US wild-harvested shrimp,” the six countries said in a joint statement released earlier this month.

One day before the DOC officially agreed to initiate the anti-dumping investigation, a Thai Commerce Ministry official said he believed the DOC would put off its consideration on whether to accept the petition. The official explained later that with additional information, shrimp farmers from Louisiana had objected to the original petition and proposed to add two more countries to the list of offenders, which meant the DOC would need more time to consider the case.

“But the DOC denied the Louisiana shrimp farmers’ request calling for the inclusion of fresh shrimp imported from Mexico and Canada in the original petition. As a result, the case is proceeding normally,” the official said.

To cope with the impact from the expected decline in shrimp exports to the US this year, Rachane Potjanasuntorn, the Foreign Trade Department’s director-general, said the department would study the possibility of shifting some of the excess shrimp to the European Union instead.

Shrimp exports to the EU have declined continuously since tax privileges under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) were cut in 1999. The EU taxes Thai frozen shrimp imports at 12% currently, compared with less than 5% under the GSP. As well, the EU is seeking to stimulate consumption of locally produced shrimp in a bid to maintain domestic prices.

Over the first 10 months of last year, frozen shrimp exported to the 15-country trade bloc totalled 545 tonnes worth around 190 million baht, declining more than 70% both in terms of volume and value when compared with the figures in 1999.

Due to the impact of the US anti-dumping probe, the Thai Frozen Foods Association predicted shipments to the US would decline slightly to 100,000 tonnes this year from 120,000 tonnes last year.

Association president Panisuan Jamnarnwej said it would be possible for the country to shift another 20,000 tonnes of shrimp to the EU this year, although they would face the higher import tax. It would not be a tough job, he said, since many Thai exporters were already familiar with the market.

Thai Shrimp Farming Association said that Thai farmers had already moved to slow production and produce bigger shrimp that could fetch better prices.

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Bangkok Post Feb.15, 2004

SONGKHLA LAKE

B450 million budget needed for clean-up

Ranjana Wangvipula

The government will be asked to allocate 450 million baht to restore Songkhla Lake, the largest fresh water source in the South which has faced severe pollution problems.

A panel of state officials and villagers for Songkhla Lake rehabilitation will propose programmes including plans to build 1,900 small weirs to trap soil sediment flowing into the lake.

The Songkhla Lagoon Development Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will consider the proposal on Feb 26 before forwarding it for cabinet approval, said Kasemsun Chinnavaso, deputy secretary-general of the Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning.

Rapid soil erosion is threatening various fish species in this 1,046-square-kilometre lake.

Other rehabilitation programmes include mangrove reforestation, environmentally-friendly fishing, and plans to curb wastewater discharge from factories and communities.

A scientist, who has been studying water animals at the lake, said mangrove reforestation covering too wide an area could threaten fish which would find the size of their habitat reduced.

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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Thursday, December 11, 2003, The Phuket Gazett

Shrimp farmers’ loss is consumers’ gain

PHUKET: Shrimp lovers are being urged to eat up vast quantities in Thailand’ s national interest. The price of Pacific white shrimp, a popular crop with shrimp farmers, has plummeted because of oversupply and anti-dumping measures being taken in the
US and Europe.

Prices that were around 200-230 baht a kilogram just weeks ago are now down to 80-100 baht.

Tharadol Thongruang, Deputy Director of the Phuket Commercial Affairs office, said that about 180 shrimp farmers on Phuket have been seriously affected by the drop in price.

Strong demand both locally and overseas has pushed production levels higher over the past year – but now the farmers, initially attracted to the business by the low overheads and the prospect of top prices, are facing a dramatic drop in income because of the new barriers in their overseas markets.

“The US and the European Union decided to place limits on the amount of imported shrimp and, at the same time, rival producers such as China, India and Vietnam also increased output,” K. Tharadol explained.

Phuket officials are trying to help the local farmers by urging 200 island hotels and stores to promote shrimp dishes to guests.

Over the longer term, shrimp growers are being advised to consider farming alternatives such as fish or shellfish.

Meanwhile, local consumers have been quick to take advantage. Supercheap, which normally sells 300 kilos a day of the Pacific white shrimp, saw sales leap to a ton a day or more.

Anyone interested in buying fresh shrimp in large quantities should contact K. Tharadol at Tel: 076-212017 during office hours.

From:

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The Phuket Gazett

AUTHOR: Supaporn Sriprom

EU team visits local prawn farm

THALANG: Five members of a European Union (EU) inspection team toured a shrimp farm and hatchery in Thalang to check on new operating procedures introduced by the Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office. At about 1 pm on January 22 the team arrived at the Palakualalum Prawn Hatchery accompanied by Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office head Sinti Dangsakul. K. Sinti explained to them the improvements that have been implemented over the past year in Phuket’s prawn farming industry, which comprises about 300
hatcheries and 100 farms. More than a quarter these have put new procedures in place to reduce disease and improve hygiene and safety, as required to meet the increased stringency of EU import standards. Besides higher duties,

Thai shrimp exports have faced non-tariff hurdles such as rigorous, 100% testing for banned chemicals. The EU withdrew Thai prawns from its Generalized System of Preferences, saying Thailand had become rich enough not to need tariff privileges anymore.
Late last year, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra threatened to boycott the purchase of Airbus aircraft after the EU was considered to have deliberately introduced protectionist measures against Thai shrimp, but the barriers likely reflect a growing attitude in Europe that the global prawn-farming industry is greed-driven, unsustainable, and a major source of mangrove
forest destruction in developing countries.

At the 180-rai Palakualalum farm, the EU representatives spent an hour reviewing technical aspects of the farm’s operation before touring the facility.
“We wanted them to show them our improved standards so they will trust the quality of our prawn exports,” he explained, adding that all prawns exported to EU markets were inspected for traces of chemical contamination and disease no less than 15 days before sale. Referring to Thailand’s drop in exports to the US and EU to just 5% of total production from 40-50%, K. Sinthi said many other factors were involved, including marketing and increased competition from countries like Vietnam and China.
According to K. Sinti, the EU officials did not have time to comment on their findings due to time constraints.

“This was meant to be a good example for the EU member how our farms operate and hopefully they are willing allow us to export more prawns to their country in the future,” he said.

From steve@phuketgazette.net

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Bangkok Post Jan.29, 2004

Shrimp ban likely

Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook shrugged off a report that Indonesia might ban shrimp imports from six countries under US dumping scrutiny, which include Thailand.

“We would not be hurt by the decision. Our shrimp prices are still going up,” Mr Watana said yesterday.

Indonesia’s marine affairs minister, Rokhmin Dahuri was quoted by the Antara news agency as saying the ban would cover shrimp from Thailand, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India and Vietnam.

“We hope that the ban will rejuvenate the shrimping business which has been in the doldrums,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the US dumping investigation could help Indonesia increase its shrimp exports to the US.

E-mail:

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Bangkok Post Feb.9, 2004

Drive to bring in visitors turns community around

Eco-tourism programme restores Ban Bang Rong villages to former glory

ACHATAYA CHUENNIRAN – Phuket

Unity and collective efforts to restore local resources have turned an area once exploited by deforestation and water-polluting prawn farms on Phuket to a popular ecological tourist attraction. Ban Bang Rong community consists of five villages along the Bang Rong canal in the southern island province. The community covers 2,075 rai and houses 1,172 people from 327 families, 80% of whom are Muslims, in tambon Pa Klawk of Thalang district. It borders Phra Thaew mountain in the west and the sea in the east.

Years ago the community lost most of its mangrove forests to shrimp farmers and logging concessionaires who made charcoal. That destroyed the coastal fishery which was the only way local people made a living. Ban Bang Rong people then had to turn to cultivation but failed as they were unfamiliar with it. Their plantations finally fell into the hands of their creditors. Poverty drove local people to theft and drugs.

The situation prompted local religious leaders to find ways to save their people. Rescue plans started with a fund to help people in financial trouble. The fund saved villagers from harsh interest rates charged by loan sharks. In 1998, the fund was developed into a fund which supported the activities of villagers, housewives and coastal fishermen. These groups gradually solved local problems such as poverty, crimes and drug addiction.

The activity which has made money for villagers is development of the Ban Bang Rong community as an ecological tourist attraction which highlights the abundant forest on Phra Thaew mountain, local lifestyles along Bang Rong canal and the natural beauty of mangrove forests and coastal sea water. Villagers spent two years rehabilitating their mangrove forests and preparing services for visitors such as camp sites, a restaurant which serves local seafood dishes, rental mountain bikes, and coastal kayaks which are guided to seaside caves and fish farms.

“The community has turned itself into a natural classroom where visitors can learn villagers’ lifestyles. In the meantime, local people have jobs and income, and drug addiction and gambling among young people are fading away. This is a dream coming true for community dwellers,” said Jirasak Thortip, head of the tambon Pa Klawk civil society. Tourist programmes also include mountain treks and visits to a waterfall. Each day the community welcomes 60-70 visitors, mostly Europeans.

From

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Vietnam

February 18, 2004

Shrimp Farmer Caught in a Bitter Battle

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LE LOI, Vietnam (AP) — With an accent that’s straight out of America’s South, Huu Dinh can vividly recall a stint as a shrimp fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico when he first arrived in the United States 30 years ago.

But Dinh — who returned to his native Vietnam in 1997 and invested nearly $50 million to set up shrimp farms here — now finds himself caught between the two countries he calls home.

American shrimpers accuse Vietnam of dumping shrimp in U.S. markets at unfairly low prices. A lawsuit designed to impose duties on Vietnamese shrimp — and help his former colleagues in the United States – now threatens to devastate Dinh’s business in Vietnam.

“This is something awful because (I’m an) American guy (with) American dollars and now if any ruling favors the (U.S.) fishermen, it will hurt me,” said Dinh, 48.

The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a preliminary ruling Tuesday, saying imports from six countries including Vietnam have harmed the domestic
shrimp industry. The ruling keeps alive the American group’s hopes that Washington will eventually impose tariffs on shrimp imports.

The U.S.-based Southern Shrimp Alliance, the group of shrimpers and processors that filed the lawsuit, says American fishermen are being pushed out of business because cheap shrimp imports are undercutting their market. The other countries involved are Thailand, China, India, Brazil and Ecuador.

But immigrants from Vietnam play a major role in the American shrimp industry. Vietnamese-Americans make up between 45 percent and 80 percent of the industry in America’s southern states, the Southern Shrimp Alliance has said.

“The Vietnamese have been harder hit than any group in this country, and it just breaks your heart,” said Eddie Gordon, alliance president.

The countries named in the lawsuit say they’re not dumping shrimp onto the U.S. market. They say they’re simply more efficient, with cheaper labor and fewer regulations to slow down production.

They also argue that America needs the imported shrimp because domestic producers account for only about 20 percent of the amount consumed in a country where shrimp is the No. 1 seafood.

“(America) needs to face the fact that some countries will do some things better, and if the Vietnamese do good shrimp, let them do it,” Dinh said.

Vietnam is the second biggest shrimp exporter to the United States, sending $467.3 million worth in 2002. Thailand is the largest exporter.

The Vietnamese government now faces its second seafood trade dispute with the United States in two years. Last year, a similar suit filed against Vietnamese catfish farmers resulted in tariffs of up to 64 percent, forcing
many Vietnamese out of U.S. markets.

“We consider the catfish lawsuit as nonsense and we also consider it nonsense for this shrimp lawsuit,” said Nguyen Huu Chi, the Ministry of Trade official who’s overseeing the lawsuit.

The former foes have moved closer economically following the signing of a landmark trade agreement in 2001, which prompted two-way trade of $4.7 billion last year. But since the catfish dispute, Vietnam has accused the United States of protecting its own markets, rather than offering free trade.

And shrimp producers like Dinh will feel the pinch if tariffs are imposed on Vietnamese shrimp.

One of his farms sits in Le Loi village, a flat, barren area in northern Vietnam about 100 miles east of Hanoi. Blue plastic tarps line countless ponds saddled by yellow aeration paddles. A total of 2,200 tons of shrimp a
year are harvested at this farm — one of five Dinh owns throughout the country, employing 2,000 people.

As a Vietnamese-American, Dinh considers himself the son of two countries. He says he finds it ironic that his livelihood is now being threatened by some of the same people he once helped.

After he immigrated to the United States in 1974, Dinh said he fished the Gulf of Mexico waters before going to college and later becoming a senior reactor operator at a nuclear power plant. Along the way, he says he helped
fellow Vietnamese fishermen learn English, apply for loans for their boats, and he even helped finance some of their ventures.

When Vietnam began welcoming overseas Vietnamese back to do business, Dinh returned while his family remained in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

“I’m a son of two families, but I returned home for my mother because she needs help more,” Dinh said. “But I also want to do something special where it can bridge the gap between Vietnam and America.”

From Dr. Michael Skladany, IATP
e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

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Wetlands in Need of Protection

150,000 hectares of Vietnam’s forests disappear every year and half of this figure is mangrove forest. This is according to the Head of the Environment Department at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Truong Manh Tien, in an interview on World Wetland Day (2 February). Mr. Tien also warned that deforestation and current improper exploitation is the biggest threat to wetland systems in Vietnam. During the past forty years Bac Lieu and Ca Mau Provinces have destroyed 80% of their mangrove forest by converting it into shrimp ponds. Wetlands are also under pressure from intensive cultivation, over use of pesticides and fertilisers and sometimes become local waste dumps.

The Government appears to be reacting to the threat of this special system and have issued Decree 109/2003 in an attempt to strengthen wetland protection throughout the country. The former Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (the Ministry of Sciences, Technologies and Environment) agreed a list of 68 important wetland sites in 1998 and proposed to set up 15 Marine Reserves. Vietnam was also one of the first countries in Asia to join the Ramsar Convention to promote wetland preservation activities.

Wetlands contribute a lot to the country’s economy. Rice grown in wetland areas adds to the countries overall rice production which makes up 5% of the worlds grain output. Marine products also include products from wetland areas which make up 10% of the country’s exports. (Vietnam Economic Times issue 20, date 4 Feb 2004)

From: “Bernard O’Callaghan – DNG”

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Malaysia

FOREST CONSERVATION ACTION ALERT

Malaysian Timber Industry Misconduct: Express Shock, Support Boycott

By Forests.org, Inc., February 16, 2004

TAKE ACTION:

Malaysia Hosts Biodiversity Conference as Timber Industry

Devastates World’s Primary Forests

Malaysian timber cartels threaten the existence of most of the World’s remaining primary rainforests through predatory logging and marketing of illegal timber. Described as “robber barons”,

Malaysian timber interests and their government apologists trample upon human rights, national sovereignty, the rule of law, and biodiversity and ecosystems. Hypocritically, Malaysia is now
hosting the “Conference of Parties” to the Biodiversity Treaty, charged with finding solutions to biodiversity and forest loss. Only twenty percent of the Earth’s original forest cover remains as large intact areas, with more than a third of these under threat. Malaysian logging interests have gained notoriety as the most aggressive and damaging industrial loggers of ancient

forests. An example is Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia which has been exposed as one of the major players in global forest crime. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), Malaysian logging companies routinely resort to corruption and human rights abuses to carry out
environmentally and socially damaging first time industrial logging of ancient primary forests. Illegal trade in ramin enabled by Malaysian timber interests threatens some of

Indonesia’s last remaining national parks and endangered species
including orangutans and the Sumatran tiger. Demand that the Malaysian government cease its obstruction of efforts to conserve, preserve and sustainably use forest biodiversity. Insist Malaysia commit to eradicating illegal logging and related trade, and respect of indigenous rights in

Malaysia and worldwide. Call upon the Malaysian government to use

their hosting of the meeting to galvanize a specific, adequately funded and time-bound agenda to end deforestation and degradation of forests and biodiversity. Let Malaysia’s government know that
failure to do so will mean a boycott of Malaysian products and travel. It is time to get tough with the number one offender of rainforests and their inhabitants – please do so at THIS WEBSITE

 

From: “Glen Barry”

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S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Help protect ecosystem of Sundarbans: Minister tells NGOs, environmentalists

The Daily Star, Febeuary 9, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

State Minister for Forest and Environment Jafrul Islam Chowdhury yesterday called upon NGOs, environmentalists and other agencies concerned to work together with the government to protect ecosystem of the Sundarbans.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Conservation of tigers in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh’, he said, “Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tigers is possible through protecting the ecosystem of the Sundarbans.”

Dharitri Media and Communication Consultants Agency organised the seminar. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui and Canadian High Commissioner Robert Bedel were present as special guests.

Development Communicator of Dharitri Razia Quadir presented the keynote paper at the seminar while President of Dharitri Shanaj Ahmed spoke.

Referring to the growing threat to life of tigers in the Sundarbans, Jafrul Islam said everybody should make effort to protect the rare species. Community-based initiatives should be taken to this end, he added.

He said the government has taken various measures to protect the Royal Bengal Tigers and the Sundarbans.

He said dependence of local people on resources of the Sundarbans for maintaining their livelihood should be stopped. Steps have been taken to create alternative jobs for local people to protect ecosystem of the Sundarbans, he added.

The state minister said numeration of tigers in the world largest mangrove is going on and their total number could be ascertained within few days.

Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui said the Sundarbans is our national property.

From: Zakir Kibria

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India

Hope For Chilika Lake Grows

WAS VERY PLEASANTLY SURPRISED READ ASSESSMENT REPORTS
BY WWF AND CHILIKA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY THAT THE
DANGER OF SILTATION AND DECREASE OF SALINITY HAS BEEN
STOPPED BY OPENING ACCESS TO THE SEA. TIDE BRINGS IN
SEA WATER AND FISH,CRAB AND SHRIMP SPAWNS. THEIR CATCH
HAS GONE UP DRAMATICALLY. SO ALSO DOLPHIN POPULATION.

A NEW TYPE OF MANGROVE SPECIES HAS BEEN IDENTIFYED IN
A PERTCULAR ISLAND. DONT KNOW IF IT IS A NEW ONE OR
NEW IN CHILIKA. WILL BE VISITING ON 1ST FEB TO ASSESS.
WILL LET YOU KNOW.

I AM REQESTING DR PATNAIK IN CHARGE OF CHILIKA
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY WHO HAS BROUGHT ABOUT THIS
DRAMATIC CHANGE TO CONTACT YOU SEND MORE INFORMATION.

From: chittaranjan das chittaranjan100@yahoo.fr

LATIN AMERICA
Costa Rica

US lifts Costa Rican shrimp embargo
05 Feb 2004, Source: just-food.com

The US has lifted its ban on imports of Costa Rican shrimp, saying it was satisfied with the Central American country’s measures to prevent marine turtles being caught by shrimp fishing boats.

The US banned Costa Rican shrimp in August after it was found that many Costa Rican shrimp boats did not have screens in place to stop sea turtles being caught in shrimp traps.
US embassy spokeswoman Marcia Bosshardt said Costa Rican officials would continue to inspect the boats to make sure the protective measures remained in place, reported the Associated Press.

JUSTFOOD.COM

From E-mail:

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Honduras

DEMAND BEFORE THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

DEMAND AGAINST THE SHRIMP FARMING INDUSTRY, THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION, BRANCH OF WORLD BANK AND HONDURAS GOVERNMENT DUE TO LACK OF ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC, NATIONAL LAWS AND INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS, CAUSING WITH THIS DESTRUCTION, CONTAMINATION OF COASTAL WETLANDS AND VIOLATION TO HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE GULF OF FONSECA, HONDURAS.

The Committee for the Defense and Development of the Flora and Fauna of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), organization of fishermen, peasants, small aquacultors and people concerned for human development and environment conservation in Honduras, and particularly in the Gulf of Fonseca, communicates:

After our cooperation in the elaboration of the General Law of Environment; among other initiatives. After risking ourselves and dedicate so much time to get: the declaration of MORATORIA to shrimp farming expansion between 1996, 1997 and 1998; the designation of RAMSAR SITE 1000 in 1999; the MORATORIUM to aquaculture expansion in this same year during the international RAMSAR Convention, plus the Statement of Protected Areas of the Gulf of Fonseca in 2000, we see with frustration the following:

The expansion of the shrimp farming industry has continued without interruption; the big shrimp companies of national and international investors, supported by Agencies and International Financial Institutions, with the complicity of the Honduran Government, have converted large extensions of mangrove forests and lagoons into shrimp farms, and they don?t care to accomplish or making others accomplish the Laws, or the International Commitments, or taking from us our income and food sources and the access to natural resources, besides they violate our human rights and they don?t even worry about the destruction of zones of breeding, shelter, food of development of marine species, flora and wild fauna, particularly native and migratory birds.

Observing that this situation goes on and that Government covers it up with a coat of impunity sheltered in a supposed corruption or governmental incapacity, we have decided to look for justice at international level, getting in first instance to the Central American Water Tribunal where we expect to obtain an ethic and moral condemn that obligates the denounced ones to accomplish and make others accomplish the national and international legal structure that should have been executed since more than 30 years ago.

Because of the previously said, we authorize Mr. Justo Garcia Casco and Jorge Varela Marquez, President and Executive Director, respectively so that in our representation they: denounce the big shrimp farming industry, the ?International Finance Corporation? of the World Bank and the Government of Honduras, for their lack of accomplishment of the Republic?s Constitution, National Laws and International Commitments, with this they have caused the destruction and contamination of coastal wetlands and violation to human rights, since the establishment of the shrimp farming industry in the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras.

San Lorenzo, Valle, January 24 of 2004
Central Directive Board, CODDEFFAGOLF

From: “CODDEFFAGOLF”

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Mexico

Mangroves Being Killed For Development

I am writing to you to report the illegal killing of mangrove in Xcalak. I have personally witnessed it and have had it temporarily stopped. I would like to know how I can report this crime so that the American owner of the land will be properly punished and fined according to the laws of Mexico. I have made a videotape of the workers chopping the mangroves with their machetes. They were instructed to destroy all the mangrove on a thirty meter beach lot. They say the agent who sold the land asked them to cut it all. I know it was the American owner who asked the agent to clear the land for him.

From John and Melissa Rogers Xcalak
jrogers91@yahoo.com

NORTH AMERICA
USA

The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Anti-Dumping Suit Gains Momentum in WA, DC

By Michael Schroeder

WASHINGTON — Federal trade officials, noting that low-price competition is damaging U.S. producers, agreed to recommend that the government consider antidumping duties on shrimp imports from six countries in Asia and Latin America. The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 to send the recommendation to the Commerce Department to decide whether the U.S. should impose duties based on
evidence that shrimp imports were sold at unfair market prices.

Commerce officials are scheduled to make a preliminary ruling by early June, unless they decide more time is needed. If imposed, duties wouldn’t go into effect at least until October.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance, which represents thousands of small shrimp operations ranging from South Carolina to Louisiana, contended in a Dec. 31 complaint that six countries — Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Ecuador and Brazil — have been dumping excess supplies of farmed
shrimp on the U.S. market. Shrimp imports to the U.S. surged after heightened health standards and tariffs diverted the big exporting nations from shipping shrimp to Europe and Japan.

“Demand for shrimp is at record high levels, surpassing tuna as the No. 1 seafood consumed in the United States. Yet, U.S. shrimpers and processors are not able to make ends meet due to the increasing amount of unfair trade,” said John Williams, an Alliance officer and a shrimp fisherman in Tarpon Springs, Fla.

The U.S. shrimp group contended in the petition that cheap imports cut the value of the U.S. shrimp harvest to $560 million in 2002 from $1.25 billion in 2000. During the period, the average dockside price of Gulf of Mexico shrimp was cut by nearly half to $3.30 a pound.

The U.S. shrimpers are demanding that the U.S. impose duties ranging from 30% to 267% on imports from the six countries. Representatives from the big exporting nations contend that duties will result in higher prices for U.S. consumers. Even at higher prices, shrimp will continue to come in from Asia, and other suppliers will boost production, trade analysts say.

Deborah Regan, an Alliance spokeswoman, said higher prices may not translate into consumers paying more. Restaurant prices have increased substantially for shrimp, even though there has been a big decline in dockside prices in the past three years.

From Dr. Michael Skladany, IATP
e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

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“Dumped” foreign shrimp hurts locals, says US

NewAge, Feb. 19, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

www.newagebd.com

America’s top trade panel ruled that shrimp imports from six countries likely threaten the US industry, opening the way to possible anti-dumping tariffs. The six-member quasi-judicial US International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously for a finding against shrimp and prawns from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Vietnam.
It said there was a “reasonable indication” that the imported crustaceans, allegedly being dumped in the United States at unfair prices, harm or threaten the local industry.
That means the Department of Commerce will press ahead with anti-dumping investigations and make a preliminary finding “which could mean import tariffs or quotas” by about June 8, the ITC said.
The probe includes warm-water, ocean or farm-raised shrimp, whether packaged with heads or without, in their shells or peeled, cooked or raw, frozen or fresh, canned or loose.
American shrimp farmers, pooled together in the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee, had asked for the investigation in December, calling for anti-dumping tariffs of up to 349 per cent.
They celebrated the ITC decision.
“The evidence that countries sell shrimp in the United States at prices lower than in their home or third markets is overwhelming,” said Florida shrimp farmer John Williams, who is an official in the Southern Shrimp Alliance.
US demand for shrimp was at a record high, surpassing tuna as the number-one seafood, but American shrimpers and processors could not make ends meet, Williams said.
In the first nine months of 2003, the value of shrimp imports from Brazil was $86m; from China, $254m; from Ecuador, $171m; from India, $298m; from Thailand, $631m; and from Vietnam, $418m.
American shrimpers are looking for tariffs of up to 349 per cent on shrimp from Brazil, 264 per cent from China, 166 per cent from Ecuador, 110 per cent from India, 58 per cent from Thailand and 93 per cent from Vietnam.
Vietnam condemns US ruling
Vietnam’s seafood industry condemned Wednesday a ruling by a US trade panel that Vietnamese shrimp exports are threatening the American shrimp industry, calling the anti-dumping investigation ?absurd?.
The Vietnam Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said it was “very disappointed” that the International Trade Commission (ITC) did not terminate the legal action against Vietnam and five other countries.
“VASEP affirms that Vietnamese shrimp producers and processors have not dumped shrimp on the US market and have not caused damage or threatened to cause material losses to the US shrimp industry,” it said in a statement.
The ruling has given the green light to the Department of Commerce to press ahead with anti-dumping investigations and make a preliminary finding “which could mean import tariffs or quotas” by about June 8, the ITC said.
VASEP, however, said the price competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp exports was a result of its members’ “natural and technical advantages together with the efforts and hardwork of Vietnamese farmers”.
It called on the US government to base future rulings “on the reality of the situation and avoid imposing absurd conclusions on shrimp farmers, processors and exporters in Vietnam and other defendant countries.”

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

==========

Brewing Trade War Over Shrimp Imports

January 29, 2004
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 8:42 a.m. ET

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the midst of a brewing trade war over shrimp, a key environmental group is pointing out that the shrimp American fishermen catch in the Gulf of Mexico is cleaner than pond-raised imports and less damaging to the ocean than shrimp caught elsewhere.

“Imported shrimp are often associated with significant environmental problems due to habitat loss, water quality impairment and wasteful fishing practices,” the Gulf Restoration Network said in a statement to The Associated Press.

American shrimpers filed an antidumping petition against six Asian and South American countries on Dec. 31. The U.S. shrimp fishery alleges that imports are dumped here below fair market prices.

The Gulf Restoration Network, which represents environmental, social justice and citizens’ groups across the Gulf region, stated that it did not take a position on the merits of the antidumping petition.

“We can’t make the judgment call on whether or not there is illegal
activity going on, but we do know that U.S. shrimpers andaquaculturists follow strict, and at times costly, regulations to reduce waste and
pollution,” the group said.

It continued: “The lack off assurance that foreign shrimp was captured or grown in the most environmentally friendly manner possible, should play a part in a consumers choice when buying shrimp.”

The Gulf shrimp fleet has changed with the times and it has reduced,
according to National Marines Fisheries Service data, by-catch to about four pounds of waste for every pound of shrimp caught.

By comparison, international by-catch rates are as high as 11 pounds of waste per pound of caught shrimp, the group said.

In recent years, Gulf shrimpers have been forced to use devices that reduce the amount of fish and turtles caught.

For example, NMFS estimates devices in shrimpers’ nets have reduced red snapper by-catch by 40 percent, according to Jill Jensen, a fisheries assistant with Gulf Restoration Network.

Oceana, an ocean advocacy group, estimates that new devices to exclude turtles from getting caught in shrimp nets will limit turtle deaths in U.S. waters to about 4,000 a year.

Gulf Restoration Network: www.gulfrestorationnetwork.org/

From: mskladany@iatp.org

STORIES/ISSUES
New Report by WWF Raises Concerns Over Lost Wetlands

Gland, Switzerland, 31 January – According to a new WWF report, US$70 billion worth of goods and services from freshwater resources could be at risk annually if governments fail to manage their wetlands sustainably.

The report, The Economic Values of the World’s Wetlands, is the first comprehensive overview of the economic values of the world’s wetlands. It analyzes the 89 existing valuation studies and uses a database covering a wetland area of 630,000 km”, putting the annual value of wetlands at a very conservative US$3.4 billion. But extending this figure using the Ramsar Convention’s global wetland area estimate of 12.8 million km”, the WWF report concludes that the annual global value of wetlands is US$70 billion. It shows that amenity and recreation, flood control, recreational fishing, and water filtration are the most valued functions of wetlands. Asian wetlands have an economic value three times greater than those of North America despite the fact that the total area of Asia’s wetlands analysed in this report is less than half of North America’s. This is due to a higher population density, which means high demand for wetland goods and services.

However, according to the report billions of dollars are spent each year on the draining of wetlands for irrigation, agriculture, and other land uses for immediate economic benefits. This has led to increased flooding, water contamination, and water shortages worldwide, and costs governments large amounts of time and money to later repair such damage.

“Decision-makers often have insufficient understanding of the values of wetlands and fail to consider their protection as a serious issue,” said Dr. Kirsten Schuyt, WWF International’s Resource Economist and co-author of the report. “Wetlands are often perceived to have little or no economic value compared to land-use activities which may yield more visible and immediate economic benefits.”

The report highlights that more than half of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900 as a result of human population increase and development. For example in the Everglades (Florida, US), rapid population increase, development, and urban sprawl have destroyed half of the original wetlands. Attempts to repair the resulting damages such as species decline, the spread of invasive alien species, and severe water shortages, will take decades and cost almost US$8 billion dollars.

WWF believes that governments must recognize the economic, social, and environmental value of wetlands and include the sustainable management of these ecosystems in their national agenda. They should also list their most valuable wetland sites under the Ramsar Convention, the only international treaty on wetland protection. For example, the recent designation by the government of Mali of the Inner Niger Delta (the third largest wetland in the world) as a Ramsar site represents a major commitment to prevent overexploitation of freshwater resources in the area and promote sustainable management of these wetlands.

“Managing wetlands sustainably will aid significantly in meeting the target set at the World Summit on Sustainable Development of halving the number of people without adequate water and sanitation services by 2015,” said Jamie Pittock, Director of WWF’s Living Waters Programme.

For further information:

Lisa Hadeed, Communications Manager
WWF Living Water Programme
E-mail: LHadeed@wwfint.org

Mitzi Borromeo, Press Officer
WWF International
E-mail: MBorromeo@wwfint.org

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar peck@ramsar.org

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Mangroves Key to Health of Coral Reef Fisheries

WASHINGTON, DC, February 5, 2004 (ENS) – A strong and direct link exists between the number of fish on coral reefs and the health of nearby mangrove forests, according to a new study released today. Researchers say the finding is further evidence of the need to conserve mangrove forests, which are disappearing at a rate that alarms conservationists.

Mangrove forests once covered some 75 percent of the coastlines of tropical and sub-tropical countries, but some 35 percent of the world’s mangroves are already gone. In the Americas mangrove forests are being cleared at a rate faster than the tropical rainforests.

The new study, published in the journal “Nature,” finds coral reef fish twice as abundant at reefs with nearby healthy mangrove forests compared to reefs far from any mangroves.

The researchers measured 164 fish species at reefs in the Central American country of Belize.
Mangrove forests have been called the rainforests of the sea. (Photo courtesy United Nations Environment Program www.unep.org )

One species, the blue striped grunt, was found to be 26 times more abundant on reefs near healthy mangroves. The scientists also report that the rainbow parrotfish is so dependent on mangroves that it became locally absent after the forests were removed.

“There is nothing subtle about these numbers,” said Dr. Peter Mumby, a researcher from the University of Exeter in England and the study’s lead author. “This research shows a direct link between mangroves and the number of fish on coral reefs including several species of snapper that are heavily fished.”

Mangrove forests are groves of salt tolerant marine trees that serve as the interface between land and sea, subject to the twice daily ebb and flow of the tides. They serve several key environmental roles, buffering against the effects of violent storms and filtering pollutants.

Mumby and his colleagues say their study adds to evidence that mangrove forests play a key role for many fish species, serving as a middle habitat between seagrass nurseries and the adult habitat of the reef.

Without mangroves, smaller fish are forced to seek shelter in reefs, where they are exposed to more predators.
The researchers say their study indicates the need for strong conservation efforts to protect mangroves forests, for economic as well as environmental reasons.

“There is a strong economic rationale for protecting mangroves since coral reef fisheries have an estimated annual value of $5.7 billion and many people also depend on them for subsistence,” said Dr. Kenyon Lindeman, a co-author of the report and a senior scientist with Environmental Defense, a U.S. environmental research and advocacy organization.

For centuries mangrove forests were considered by many as useless swamps and many mangroves have been cleared to make way for development.

Many mangroves have been clearcut to make way for shrimp farms. (Photo courtesyEnvironmental Justice Foundationwww.ejfoundation.org )

In recent years 50 percent of mangrove destruction has been due to clearcutting for shrimp farms.
The authors say conservation efforts should include the creation of marine protected areas – a key issue at next week’s meeting of the Convention of Biological Diversity.

The 11 day meeting, which marks the 10th anniversary of the global biodiversity agreement, begins February 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“Networks of marine protected areas work for both people and fish,” says Dr. Ghislaine Llewellyn, a marine scientist with World Wildlife Fund and a co-author of the report. “This study is yet more evidence that systems of marine parks are urgently needed to safeguard biodiversity and secure food resources.”

From: “Billy Causey”

ANNOUNCEMENTS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com  and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at: MANGROVE RESTORATION

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

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IUCN Announces Small Grants Program

The Small grants for Wetlands Programme (SWP) is managed by the Netherlands Committee for IUCN (NC-IUCN) with funds from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The SWP financially supports small-scale wetland conservation and sustainable management projects that are designed and implemented by local NGOs in developing countries. The list of eligible countries has been considerably extended and now includes some 130 countries.

This new phase of 3 years enables us to plan new rounds for the selection of projects to be financially supported by SWP. The next deadline for the submission of project proposals by local NGOs to SWP is now set on 1st March 2004. The following deadline is 1st September 2004. For 2005 we are planning to set deadlines on 1st February and 1st September, but interested NGOs are strongly advised to check our website or contact us in due time for confirmation.

Please refer to our website at www.wetlands.nl or contact us through our general, email wetlands@wetlands.nl for further information on the current criteria for funding (including the list of eligible countries) and the latest version of the format for project proposals.

Note that proposals that were submitted to SWP before the present announcement were not prepared according to the latest version of the format and were therefore not registered. Therefore all proposals sent to us before this message need to be resubmitted.

We also encourage you to disseminate this letter among your network of NGO contacts.

Esther Blom (Ms)

From: Esther Blom esther.blom@nciucn.nl

——————–

International Conference on Biogeochemistry of mangrove -estuary ecosystem, modeling and I integrated coastal zone management to be held on 24th & 25th April-2004, at School of Environmental
Sciences , Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi – 110 067, India

Mangrove-estuarine environment is creating more organic matter each year than comparably-sized areas of forest, grassland, or agricultural land. In addition to supporting a wide biodiversity of coastal area it also support the surging population over there. The increasing numbers of people have placed a heavy burden on the coastal marine resources. This has been compounded by the inadequate infrastructure and management capacity. Hence it is very essential to understand the nutrient budget and their biogeochemical modeling process controlling their productivity, mobility and transport in these coastal ecosystems.

The Conference will look into key areas of interest for sustaining or enhancing productivity and functions of estuarine-mangrove and coastal ecosystems along with ways to promote a better understanding of the role of estuaries and mangroves in the coastal food web. The conference will address the following specific objectives of these ecosystems;
1. Assessment of biogeochemistry of mangrove-estuaries and coastal areas their nutrient fluxes, budgeting and modeling.2.Aquaculture and other anthropogenic impact on estuaries and mangroves. Their interaction with coastal ground water.3.Impact of use of toxic pesticides and antibiotics, in addition to shrimp feeds.4.The pollution impacts on these ecosystem and necessary management plan to combat these impacts on the coastal zones.
THEMES OF SEMINAR: 1.Nutrient distribution and cycling in mangrove estuary region (MER).,2. MER Nutrient distribution and modeling 3. MER Nutrient budgeting.4. MER and its interaction with Coastal ground Water quality 5. MER Sediment-water interaction 6. Land use and soil impact to MER
REGISTRATION FEE;1.Participants (Indian): Rs.1000/-,2.Participants (Foreign) : USD 100 3.Accompanying member : Rs.500/-(Indian) : USD 75(foreign), 4.Students : Rs.250/-(Indian), : USD 25(foreign)

CONTACT ADDRESS: Dr. AL.RAMANATHAN, Organizing Secretary,School of Environmental Sciences,
Jawaharlal Nehru university,New Delhi-110067, India ,Ph. 91-11-26704314 (O)/ 26194938(R) Cell: 94432-91197;
alr0400@mail.jnu.ac.in , alrjnu@hotmail.com , www.jnu.ac.in , WWW.envisjnu.net

From: “Dr. A.L. Ramanathan” alr0400@mail.jnu.ac.in

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RAMSAR SITES Database Now Online

The Ramsar Sites Database is available on the Wetlands International website.

From: “Henderikse, Saskia” Saskia.Henderikse@Wetlands.org

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Call for POSTERS deadline for the 2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration is quickly approaching!

The 2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration will be held September 12-15, in Seattle, Washington. Restore America’s Estuaries will host the conference, to be held at the Washington Convention and Trade Center and Grand Hyatt Seattle. This is the premiere nationwide forum focused solely on advancing the knowledge, pace, practice and success of coastal and estuarine habitat restoration. Incorporating the non-profit, government, business, tribes and academic sectors, the Conference will enable networking and communication throughout this growing movement.

Restore America’s Estuaries is pleased to announce a Student Poster Contest in conjunction with the 2nd National Conference. Posters are encouraged in
six major themes: planning and priority-setting; best practices in restoration; science and technology; monitoring and evaluation; community involvement; and policy and funding. Cash prizes will be awarded.

Visit our website for more information on the Student Poster Contest, the full “Call for Presentations and Posters” and general conference information.

For more information, please contact Suzanne Giles at Restore America’s Estuaries, suzannegiles@estuaries.org , 703-524-0248.

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Email circulation: ggallon@ecolog.com
Vol. 9, No. 3, February 4, 2004

FARMED SALMON PCB ISSUE GOES TO COURT

The study on persistent organic pollutants in salmon, reported in the January 9 issue of Science magazine (see GL, Vol. 9, No. 2), continues to attract fairly intense criticism from the salmon farming and salmon feed industries. Almost all of the industry response revolves around the health benefits of eating salmon and how the pollutant levels are below government guidelines.
The industry kneejerk response (farmed salmon are safe; people should continue to enjoy two meals of fish each week) misses the point of the Science magazine article and of the public?s expectations when it comes to responding to environmental challenges. Not one of the critics is saying that people should stop eating salmon, at least in moderation, but all of the critics are suggesting that serious efforts should be made to identify and eliminate the source of the contamination. As far as GL has been able to determine, no government or industry organization is addressing the problem in this way, though our past experience suggests they probably are searching for the source of the problem but are not informing the public of their activities.
Faced with an industry that seems to have no interest other than to deny the problem, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Environmental Health, both US NGOs, have filed legal notice that they plan to sue many manufacturers, distributors and retailers of farmed salmon over potentially dangerous levels of PCBs in the fish. California law requires that a company must either reformulate its product or notify consumers if the product contains a hazardous level of any chemical. The companies have 60 days to respond. GL will keep you informed.
Ontario Comparison
It is worth noting that the Ontario Government’s 2003-2004 Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish says that women of childbearing age and children under 15 years of age should only eat fish in the governments “no advisory” category. Based on the published data, all the farmed salmon tested for the study reported in Science would be in this category, though a few samples in Europe appear to be close to the line for the pesticide toxaphene. Ontario advisories for PCBs kick in at a concentration of 0.5 parts per million or 500 parts per billion. The highest concentration of PCBs found in farmed salmon was about 50 parts per billion, or 10 times less than the Ontario governments minimum advisory for sport fish, including wild salmon. The Canadian samples had lower concentrations than the maximum. Ontario advisories for dioxins kick in at 10 parts per trillion. The highest concentration of PCBs found in farmed salmon was about 3 parts per trillion.. Canadian samples had concentrations less than two parts per trillion.

Not everyone accepts the Ontario criteria, but the data reinforce the focus on reducing levels of persistent toxics in farmed salmon, not avoiding consumption of what is otherwise an apparently very healthful fish. Another Cross-species Feeding Issue Meanwhile, one of Britain’s leading marine activists, Don Staniford, Managing Director of the Salmon Farm Protest Group, has drawn GL’s attention to another farmed salmon issue. Two large New Zealand salmon farming companies are feeding their fish ground chicken feathers, otherwise known as feathermeal. Feathermeal is known to be a good source of protein but, as Staniford says,”Salmon don’t eat chickens. Feeding animals to other animals is not a good idea, given the problems in the UK with BSE.”

According to RTD info, a European Commission report on research, a researcher at the University of Milan found a normal prion protein in the brain tissue of salmon in 1997.. In 2003 a Science Update article in Nature reported the possibility that that fish could suffer a BSE-like disease caused by proteins similar to the prions which cause BSE (cattle), scrapie (sheep), and variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (humans). Researchers are studying the question of whether transfer could occur between fish and animals. They say it is unlikely, but it will be several years before we know for sure. The Precautionary Principle states that if we are not sure we should play it safe.

Email editorial: info@cialgroup.com

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New Report Documents Efforts to Privatize Ocean for Fish Farming

Legislation Considered this Year Would Open the Door

Minneapolis – The aquaculture industry is working along with U.S. regulatory agencies to privatize parts of the ocean on behalf of corporate fish farming interests, according to a new report by the coalition of consumer and environmental groups.

Open ocean aquaculture (OOA) is the practice of fish farming 3-200 miles off the American coast. Various government agencies; most notably NOAA Fisheries, as well as Sea Grant programs and private companies, are currently in the process of aggressively pursuing OOA development.

Currently there are experimental and demonstration off shore fish operations going on in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Texas. Fish involved in these projects are high value species including: red drum, amberjack, summer flounder, cod, halibut, red snapper and cobia. Commercial operations are already underway in Hawaii and Puerto Rico

Later this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will submit its “offshore aquaculture bill” to Congress that will set up a policy framework for the widespread commercialization of OOA operations. If the bill is passed by Congress it could green light not only the inception of a brand new giant bio-polluting industry, but a wholesale privatization
of the Continental Shelf and an end to public stewardship over the oceans, the report concluded.

The report outlines possible environmental risks associated with offshore aquaculture including: fish escapes, transference of disease to wild fish, discharge of sewage, and unsustainable use of marine resources.

“By law, the sea and seabed are ?held in the public trust?, and ?conveyance of exclusive private use rights? is not allowed,” said Dr. Mike Skladany, Marine and Fish Conservation Director at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “Altering this precedent could open up similar opportunities to a raft of competing corporate interests. Oil and gas drilling, sub-sea mining, abandonment of oil rigs, waste disposal and commercial rocket
launching are just some of the activities that would benefit from such a redefinition, and there is mounting evidence that a wholesale privatization of the continental shelf, may be in the offing.
A major motivation behind the push for OOA is the growing opposition to coastal fish farms and tough state regulations. By locating off shore, fish farming operations could escape state control. For example, it would be possible to locate farms 3 miles off Alaska, though it has banned fish farming to protect its hugely productive marine eco-system, or raise genetically engineered fish 3 miles off California, Maryland or Washington State despite their ban on these organisms.

The report calls for a moratorium on commercial open ocean aquaculture development until national aquaculture legislation is adopted and comprehensive, open and transparent regulations are formalized. This legislation should include:

- A mandatory set of national standards for Open Ocean Aquaculture.
- OOA permits issued only after conducting a rigorous environmental impact statement that is consistent with the requirements of NEPA, and at least a
60 day public comment period.
- No part of the water column or bottom-lands anywhere in the EEZ to be de facto privatized.
- Leases/permits to be temporary, and renewable only if in compliance with
strict environmental regulations.
- Environmental impacts from net-pen culture regulated by adopting regulations and developing technologies that eliminate as fully as possible; fish escapees, disease transfer to wild fish, depletion of global fish
stocks for farm raised fish feed, and discharges of waste,.
- Indigenous peoples? free access to their lands and territories fully ensured

The report was authored by the Offshore Aquaculture Working Group, which includes Ben Belton, Mike Skladany and Anne Mosness, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis.
Jeremy Brown, Food and Society Policy Fellow, Bellingham, Washington. Tracie Letterman, Center for Food Safety, Washington, D.C. Lynn Hunter, Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Read the executive summary and full report at: www.iatp.org/fish

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

From: mritchie@iatp.org

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Copyright 2004 The Chronicle Publishing Co. The San Francisco Chronicle

FEBRUARY 4, 2004, WEDNESDAY, FINAL EDITION

The fish you buy to carry a label this fall;

You’ll know its origin and whether it’s wild or farmed

SOURCE: Chronicle Environment Writer

BYLINE: Jane Kay

BODY: Seafood sold in U.S. supermarkets — everything from wild salmon to bagged frozen shrimp to Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks — will carry new labels this fall stating where it was caught, where it was processed and whether it is wild or farmed.

The new labeling requirement is the result of a little noticed provision of a federal spending bill that recently passed Congress. It singles out the seafood industry as the first to conform to a “country of origin” food labeling law that the beef and pork industries have vigorously opposed.

Consumer and environmental groups are big advocates of labeling, saying it gives consumers choices that they didn’t have before. They cite recent studies, for example, showing that farmed salmon is higher in PCBs and other contaminants than wild salmon and may pose problems for the environment.

Some fishing industry groups also welcomed the requirement, saying it is a way to promote U.S.-caught wild fish.

“A lot of people would like to buy American seafood products and support American jobs and American fishermen. Our seafood products are the best in the world in terms of quality and how they’re handled,” said Glen Spain, a regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations in Seattle.

But most of the seafood industry criticizes the provision as onerous,
expensive and unnecessary. Fish will be categorized according to the
nationality of the boat that catches them, and keeping boatloads of fish separate as they go through processing will be a logistical nightmare, they
say.

“Seafood is going to be the guinea pig for the food industry,” said Linda Candler, spokeswoman for the National Fisheries Institute, the leading trade group for the fish and seafood industry. Candler said that of all food products, fish is the only wild-caught food and therefore the hardest to categorize by nationality.

The 2002 farm bill included a “country of origin” labeling requirement for all food commodities, but the requirement was never funded. The new omnibus spending bill, passed Jan. 23, provided money only for the seafood labeling program and delayed the regulations for other commodities until September 2006.

Lobbyists say the mandatory labeling provision for fish got through because of Sen. Ted Stevens, the powerful Republican from Alaska who chairs the Appropriations Committee. Stevens supported the labeling as a way to promote his state’s wild fish industry.

Commercial fishermen caught more than 99 percent of the salmon consumed worldwide in 1980, according to a Stanford University study. Today salmon farms supply about 40 percent of the salmon sold.

Beef and pork were left out of the mandatory labeling program as a result of heavy lobbying by trade groups. But in the wake ofconcerns over “mad cow disease” and pesticide residues on produce, some consumer groups say it’s only a matter of time before other U.S. industries will be pressured to join other nations in labeling.

“There’s no justification for keeping the public in the dark about where the rest of their food comes from,” said Jonathan Kaplan, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “A label gives consumers an opportunity to buy locally grown foods.”

Beef, pork and produce lobbyists won exemptions to the labeling law earlier this month with arguments that they lacked the infrastructure to make it work.

“Fish producers didn’t share the same concern (over the labeling law), that ranchers did,” said Bryan Dierlam, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Ranchers stepped out and said there ought to be a better way. They were joined by pork producers. Many fruit and vegetable producers spoke out as well,” Dierlam said.

Some in the beef industry thought labeling would help assuage consumer fears over BSE, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, because the United States has improved practices over the last years.

But his influential group supported the delay until 2006, arguing that the law doesn’t give the Agricultural Department enough flexibility in writing
regulations.

“The law declares that you affirmatively identify the origin on each piece of meat. The infrastructure of our industry does not exist to do that. Our hope is we can work with Congress and come up with a more workable approach,” Dierlam said. “Absolutely, we’ll be watching to see what happens with seafood.”

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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The law

Provisions of the seafood labeling law:

– The term “wild” fish means naturally born or hatchery-raised fish and shellfish harvested in the wild, including a fillet, steak, nugget and any other flesh from wild fish or shellfish.

To bear the United States “country of origin” label, wild fish and shellfish must be caught in U.S. waters or by a U.S.-flagged vessel and processed in the United States or aboard a U.S.-flagged vessel. If the fish is processed elsewhere, the country also must be put on the label.

– The term “farm-raised” means fillets, steaks, nuggets and any other flesh from a farm-raised fish or shellfish.

To carry the U.S. country of origin label, farmed fish and shellfish must be derived exclusively from fish or shellfish hatched, raised and processed in the United States.

– Food markets that carry a full range of grocery products are subject to the law. Specialty fish markets and butcher stores are exempt. The labeling requirement doesn’t pertain to fish sold in restaurants.

Also exempt are fish and shellfish that have been substantially altered in processing. Pollack in fish sticks and nuggets must be labeled; but Pollack made into “surimi,” a paste, need not.

If the seafood is mixed, such as bagged shrimp, the countries of origin would be listed alphabetically.

– The information must be conveyed by a label, stamp, mark, placard or other clear and visible sign on the fish or on the package, or displayed at the final point of sale to consumers.

Violators may be fined a maximum of $10,000 for each violation.E-mail Jane Kay at jkay@sfchronicle.com .